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THE translation has been thoroughly revised for the 
sense as well as in regard to technical military terms 
and expressions. To the name of every German general 
officer mentioned in the text has been affixed, within 
brackets, his specific command, a liberty which the 
reader will perhaps not resent, since the interpolation 
is intended to facilitate his clearer understanding of 
a narrative condensed by the author with extreme 

In further aid of elucidation there has been occa- 
sionally inserted, also within brackets, a date, a figure, 
or a word. 

A few footnotes will be found, which may perhaps 
be excused as not wholly irrelevant. In the Appendix 
have been inserted the " Orders of Battle " of both sides, 
as in the first period>of the war. 

A. F. 


FIELD-MARSHAL vox MOLTKE began this history of the 
War of 1870-1 in the spring of the year 1887, and 
during his residence at Creisau he worked at it for 
about three hours every morning. On his return to 
Berlin in the autumn of that year, the work was not 
quite finished, but he completed it by January, 1888, 
at Berlin, placed it in my hands, and never again 
alluded to the subject. 

The origin of the book was as follows. I had several 
times entreated him, but in vain, to make use of his 
leisure hours at Creisau in noting down some of his 
rich store of reminiscences. He always objected, in 
the same words : " Everything official that I have had 
occasion to write, or that is worth remembering, is to be 
seen in the Archives of the Staff Corps. My personal 
experiences had better be buried with me." He had a 
dislike to memoirs in general, which he was at no pains 
to conceal, saying that they only served to gratify the 
writer's vanity, and often contributed tQ distort im- 
portant historical events by the subjective views of an 
individual, and the intrusion of trivial details. It 
might easily happen that a particular character which 
in history stood forth in noble simplicity should be 
hideously disfigured by the narrative of some per- 
sonal experiences, and the ideal halo which had sur- 
rounded it be destroyed. And highly characteristic of 
Moltke's magnanimity are the words he once uttered 
on such an occasion, and which I noted at the time : 
" Whatever is published in a military history is always 
dressed for effect : yet it is a duty of piety and patriot- 
ism never to impair the prestige which identifies the 
glory of our Army with personages of lofty position." 


Not long after our arrival at Creisau, early in 1887, I 
repeated my suggestion. In reply to my request that 
he would write an account of the Campaign of 1870-1, 
he said : " You have the official history of the war. 
That contains everything. I admit," he added, " that 
it is too full of detail for the general type of readers, 
and far too technical. An abridgment must be made 
some day." I asked him whether he would allow me 
to lay the work on his table, and next morning he 
began the narrative contained in this volume, and 
comparing it as he went on with the official history, 
earned it through to the end. 

His purpose was to give a concise account of the 
war. But, while keeping this in view, he involun- 
tarily as was unavoidable in his position regarded 
the undertaking from his own standpoint as Chief of 
the General Staff, and marshalled results so as to agree 
as a whole with the plan of campaign which was known 
only to the higher military authorities. Thus this 
work, which was undertaken in all simplicity of pur- 
pose, as a popular history, is practically from beginning 
to end the expression of a private opinion of the war 
by the Field-Marshal himself. 

The Appendix : " On a pretended Council of War in 
the Wars of William I. of Prussia," was written in 
1881. In a book by Fedor von Koppen, "Manner 
und Thaten, vaterlandische Balladen " (Men and Deeds : 
Patriotic Songs), which the poet presented to the Field- 
Marshal, there is a poem entitled, " A German Council 
of War at Versailles " (with a historical note appended), 
describing an incident which never occurred, and 
which, under the conditions by which the relations 
of the Chief of the Staff to his Majesty were regulated, 
never could have occurred. To preclude any such 
mistakes for the future, and to settle once and for all 
the truth as to the much-discussed question of the 
Council of War, the Field-Marshal wrote this paper, 
to which he added a description of his personal experi- 


ence of the battle of Koniggratz. It is this narrative 
which, shortly after the writer's death, was published 
in the Attgemeine Zeitung of Munich, in the somewhat 
abridged and altered form in which the Field-Marshal 
had placed it at the disposal of Professor von Treitscke, 
the well-known historian. 


Major and Adjutant to his 

Imperial Majesty. 
Berlin, June 25th, 1891. 




Preparations for War ..... 2 

Combat of Weissenburg (4th August) . 12 

Battle of Worth (6th August) . { .' . . .14 

Battle of Spicheren (6th August) ... 19 

Eight- wheel of the German Aimy ... 26 

Battle of Colombey-Nouilly ( 1 4th August) . 29 

Battle of Vionville Mars la Tour (16th August) . . 34 

Battle of Gravelotte St. Privat (18th August) . . 49 

New Distribution of the Army ... 64 

The Army of Chalons ...<.. 66 

Battle of Beaumont (30th August) . 76 

Battle of Sedan (1st September) ... 87 


Sortie from Metz (26th August) ..... 102 

Battle of Noisseville (31st August) .... 106 

Change of Government in Paris . . . . . 114 

Retreat of General Vinoy . . . . . . 116 

March on Paris of Illrd Army and the Army of the Meuse 119 

Investment of Paris (19th September) . . . . 124 

First Negotiations for Peace ...... 129 

Reduction of Toul (23rd September) .... 130 

Reduction of Strasburg (28th September) . . . 131 

Operations round Paris to 15th October .... 139 

Action of Artenay (10th October) ..... 145 

Engagement at Orleans (llth October) .... 146 

Reduction of Soissons (15th October) .... 149 

Storming of Chateaudun (18th October) . . . . 151 

Sortie against Malmaison (21st October) ... 153 

Storming of Le Bourget (30th October) .... 156 

Sortie from Metz against Bellevue (7th October) . . 162 



Capitulation of Metz (27th October) 165 

New Distribution of the Army . . . . . .160 

Operations of the XLVth Corps in the South-East (October) . 166 
Reduction of Schlettstadt (24th October) . . . .172 

Reduction of Breisach (10th November). , . . .174 
Reduction of Verdun (i'th November) . . . . 175 

Advance of 1st and Ilnd Armies (up to mid-November) . .177 
Engagement at Coulmiers (9th November) . . . .181 

Operations of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg . . .187 
Situation of Ilnd Army (second half of November) . . . 189 
Battle of Beaune la Rolando (28th November) . . . 192 
Advance of the Army of the Loire to the relief of Paris . .197 
Battle of Loigny Poupry (2nd December) . . . .199 

Paris in November . . . ... . . . 204 

Attempt of the Army of Paris to break out (30th November and 

2nd December) 207 

Advance of the 1st Army in November . ....-". . 216 

Battle of Amiens (17th November) 217 

Reduction of La Fere (27th November) 221 

Reduction of Thionville (24th November) .... 222 
Investment of Bdfort in November ..... 223 
Battle of Orleans (3rd and 4th December) .... 224 
Offensive Operations South, East, and Weat . . . . 233 
Fighting of the Grand Duke of Mecklenbur(7th-10th December) 235 
Interruption of important offensive operations in December . 245 

The XlVth Corps in December 250 

The 1st Army in December ....... 252 

Reduction of Mezieres (1st January, 1871) .... 257 

Paris in December ........ 259 

Combat of Le Bourget (21st December) .... 261 

Bombardment of Mont-Avron (27th December) . . 264 
The Army of the East under General Bourbaki . . . 266 
Advance of the Ilnd Army to Le Mans ..... 269 

Battle in front of Le Mans (10th-l 2th January) . . .284 
Occurrences northward of Paris during January . . . 303 

Battle of Bapaume (3rd January^ 305 

Fighting on the Lower Seine (4th January) . . . 308 
Reduction of Peronne (9th January) . . . .310 

Battle of St. Quentin (19th January) 316 

Occurrences in the South-Eastern Seat of Warup to 17th January 324 

Siege of Bdfort 324 

Transfer of the French Army of the East to the South- 

Eastern Seat of War (end of December) . . .328 

Action of Villersexel (9th January) . . . .331 

Battle on the Lisaine (15th-17th January) .... 338 

The Artillery Attack on Paris (January, 1871) . . . 349 




Battle of Mont Valerien (19th January). .... 355 
Prosecution of the Artillery Attack on Paris to the Armistice 361 
Operations of the Army of the South under General von 

Manteutfel . . 355 

General Hann von "Weyhern's March on Dijon . . . 390 
Occupation of the Departments of the Douhs, Jura, and C6te 

d'Or . ..." . . . . . . . .391 

Prosecution of the Siege of Belfort . . . . . .393 

The Armistice ......... 399 

The Homeward March of the German Army .... 406 


On the pretended Council of War in the Wars of King 

William I. 413 

" Orders of Battle " of the French and German Armies in the 

first period of the war .... 419 



THE days are gone by when, for dynastical ends, small 
armies of professional soldiers went to war to conquer 
a city, or a province, and then sought winter quarters 
or made peace. The wars of the present day call whole 
nations to arms ; there is scarcely a family that has not 
had to bewail lost ones. The entire financial resources 
of the State are appropriated to military purposes, and 
the seasons of the year have no influence on the un- 
ceasing progress of hostilities. As long as nations 
exist distinct one from the other there will be quarrels 
that can only be settled by force of arms ; but, in the 
interests of humanity, it is to be hoped that wars will 
become the less frequent, as they become the more 

Generally speaking, it is no longer the ambition of 
monarchs which endangers peace ; but the impulses of 
a nation, its dissatisfaction with its internal conditions, 
the strife of parties and the intrigues of their leaders. 
A declaration of war, so serious in its consequences, is 
more easily carried by a large assembly, of which no 
one of the members bears the sole responsibility, than 
by a single individual, however lofty his position ; and 
a peace-loving sovereign is less rare than a parliament 
composed of wise men. The great wars of recent times 
have been declared against the wish and will of the 
reigning powers. Now-a-days the Bourse possesses so 
great influence that it is able to have armies called 
into the field merely to protect its interests. Mexico 



and Egypt have had European armies of occupation 
inflicted upon them simply to satisfy the demands of 
the haute finance. To-day the question is not so much 
whether a nation is strong enough to make war, as 
whether its Government is powerful enough to prevent 
war. For example, united Germany has hitherto used 
her strength only to maintain European peace ; while 
the weakness of a neighbouring Government continues 
to involve the gravest risk of war. 

It was, indeed, from such a condition of relations 
that the war of 1870-71 originated. A Napoleon on 
the throne of France was bound to justify his preten- 
sions by political and military successes. Only tempor- 
arily was the French nation contented by the victories 
of its arms in remote fields of war ; the triumphs of 
the Prussian armies excited jealousy, they were regarded 
as arrogant, as a challenge ; and the French demanded 
revenge for Sadowa. The liberal spirit of the epoch 
set itself against the autocratic Government of the 
Emperor ; he was forced to make concessions, his 
internal authority was weakened, and one day the 
nation was informed by its representatives that it 
desired war with Germany. 


The wars carried on by France beyond seas, essentially 
on behalf of financial interests, had consumed immense 
sums and had undermined the discipline of the army. 
Her army was by no means in thorough preparedness 
for a great N war, but, in the temper of the nation, the 
Spanish succession question furnished an opportune 
pretext on wfrich to go to war. The French Reserves 
were called out on July 1 5th, and, as if the opportunity 
for a rupture was on no account to be let slip, only 


four days later the French declaration of war was pre- 
sented at Berlin. 

One Division of the French Army was ordered to 
the Spanish frontier as a corps of observation ; only 
such troops as were absolutely necessary were left in 
Algiers and in Civita Vecchia ; Paris and Lyons were 
sufficiently garrisoned. The entire remainder of the 
army : 332 battalions, 220 squadrons, 924 guns, in all 
about 300,000 men, formed the Army of the Rhine, 
which, divided into eight Corps, was, at any rate in the 
first instance, to be under the sole direction of a central 
head. The Emperor himself was the fitting person to 
undertake this weighty duty, pending whose arrival 
Marshal Bazaine was to command the gathering forces. 

It is very probable that the French reckoned on the 
old dissensions of the German races. Not that they 
dared to look forward to the South Germans as allies, 
but they hoped to paralyze their offensive by an early 
victory, perhaps even to win them over to their side. 
It was true that Prusjda_J)y herself was^sjill -almighty 
antagonist, and that her armed forces_were^of,finpp.rir>v. 
strength ; but peradvehture this advantagemight be 
counterbalanced by rapidity_pf action. 

The French plan of campaign was indeed based on 

the deliveryof suddenunexpected attacks. The 

^ d 

and transports was to be 
utilized to land a considerable force in Northern 
Prussia, which should there engage a part of the 
Prussian troops, while the main body of the German 
army, it was assumed, would await the first French 
attack behind the strong defensive line of the Rhine. 
A French force was to cross the Rhine promptly, at 
and below Strasburg, thus avoiding the great German 
fortresses ; its function being, at the very outset of the 
campaign, to cut off the South-German army charged 
with the defence of the Black Forest, and prevent it 
from effecting a junction with the North Germans. 
In the execution of this plan it was imperative that the 

B 2 


main body of the French army should be massed in 
Alsace. Railway accommodation, however, was so 
inadequate that in the first instance it was only possible 
to transport 100,000 men to Strasburg ; 150,000 had to 
leave the railway at Metz, and remain there till they 
could be moved forward. Fifty thousand men in the 
Chalons camp were intended to serve as supports, and 
115 battalions were destined for field service as soon as 
the National Guard should relieve them in the interior. 
The various Corps were distributed as follows : 

Imperial Guard, General Bourbaki Nancy. 
1st Corps, Marshal MacMahon Strasburg. 
Ilnd Corps, General Frossard St. Avoid. 
Illrd Corps, Marshal Bazaine Metz. 
IVth Corps, General Ladmirault Thionville. 
Vth Corps, General Failly Bitsch. 
Vlth Corps, Marshal Canrobert Chalons. 
Vllth Corps, General Felix Douay Belfort. 

Thus while there were but two Corps in Alsace, there 
were five on the Moselle ; and, so early as the day of the 
declaration of war, one of the latter, the Ilnd Corps, 
had been pushed forward close to the German frontier, 
about St. Avoid and Forbach. General Frossard, its 
commander, was, however, under strict injunctions to 
commit himself to no serious undertaking. 

The regiments had been hurried away from their 
peace stations before the arrival of their complement of 
men, and without waiting for their equipments. Mean- 
while the called-out reservists accumulated in the 
depots, overflowed the railway stations and choked the 
traffic. Their transmission to their destinations was at 
a standstill, for it was often unknown at the depots 
where the regiments to which the reservists were to be 
sent were for the time encamped. When at length 
they joined they were destitute of the most necessary 
articles of equipment. The Corps and Divisions lacked 
trains, hospitals and nearly the whole of the personnel 


of their administration. No magazines had been esta- 
blished in advance, and the troops were to depend on 
the stores in the fortresses. These were in a neglected 
state, for in the assured expectation that the armies 
would be almost immediately launched into the enemy's 
country they had received little attention. It was of a 
piece with this that the French Staff-officers had been 
provided with maps of Germany, but not of their own 
country. The Ministry of War in Paris was over- 
whelmed with claims, protestations, and expostulations, 
till finally it was left to the troops to help themselves 
as best they could. " On se debrouillera" was the hope 
of the authorities. 

When the Emperor arrived at Metz eight days after 
the declaration of war, the forces were not yet up to their 
strength, and even the precise whereabouts of whole 
bodies of troops was for the time unknown. He 
ordered the advance of the army, but his Marshals pro- 
tested that its internal plight was so unsatisfactory as to 
make this impossible for the time. The general con- 
viction was gradually impressing itself on the French, 
that instead of continuing to aim at invasion of the 
enemy's country, their exertions would have to be con- 
fined to the defence of their own territory. A strong 
German army was reported to be assembling between 
Mayence and Coblentz ; and instead of reinforcements 
being sent forward from Metz to Strasburg, much heavier 
ones would have to be ordered from the Rhine to the 
Saar. The determination to invade South Germany was 
already abandoned ; the fleet sailed, but without carry- 
ing a force to be landed on the north German coast. 

Germany had been surprised by the declaration of 
war, but she was not unprepared. That was a possi- 
bility which had been foreseen. 

After the withdrawal of Austria from the German 
connection, Prussia had taken upon itself the sole 
leadership, and had gradually formed closer relations 
with the South-German States. The idea of national 


unification had been revived, and found an echo in the 
patriotic sentiments of the entire people. 

The mobilization machinery of the North-German 
army had been elaborated from year to year, in accord 
with the changing conditions, by the combined exertions 
of the War Ministry and the General Staff. Every 
branch of the administration throughout the country 
had been kept informed of all it needed to know in this 
relation. The Berlin authorities had also come to 
a confidential understanding with the Chiefs of the 
General Staffs of the South-German States on all 
important points. The principle was established that 
Prussian assistance was not to be reckoned on for the 
defence of any particular point, such as the Black Forest ; 
and that South Germany would be best protected by an 
offensive movement into Alsace from the middle Rhine, 
to be effectively supported by a large army massed 
there. That the Governments of Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, 
Baden and Hesse, to all appearance uncovering their 
own territories, were ready to place their contingents 
under the command of King William, proved their 
entire confidence in the Prussian leadership. 

This understanding enabled the preparations which 
it entailed to be proceeded with. The train and march 
tables were worked out for each body of troops, with 
the most minute directions as to the respective starting- 
points, the day and hour of departure, the duration of 
the journey, the refreshment stations, and points of 
detrainment. In the locality of concentration canton- 
ments were assigned to each Corps and Division, and 
magazines were established with due regard to the most 
convenient sites ; and thus, when the stroke of war 
inevitably impended, there was required only the Royal 
signature to start the whole mighty movement in its 
smooth, swift course. Nothing needed to be changed in 
the directions originally given ; it sufficed to follow the 
plans previously thought out and prepared. 

The aggregated mobile forces were formed into three 


separate Armies, on the basis of an elaborate tabular 
statement drawn up by the Chief of the Prussian 
General Staff. 

The 1st Army, under the command of General von 
Steinmetz, consisted of, in the first instance, only the 
Vllth and Vlllth Corps, with one Division of cavalry ; 
60,000 men all told. It was ordered to assemble at 
Wittlich and form the right wing. 

The Ilnd Army, under the command of Prince 
Frederick Charles, consisted of the Illrd, IVth, Xth, 
and Guard Corps, with two Divisions of cavalry. As- 
sembling in the vicinity of Homburg and Neunkirchen, 
it was to form the centre, with a strength of 134,000 men. 

The Illrd Army, under the command of the Crown 
Prince of Prussia, consisted of the Yth and Xlth 
Prussian, and the 1st and Ilnd Bavarian Corps, the 
Wiirtemberg and Baden Field Divisions, with one Divi- 
sion of cavalry. Its approximate strength was 130,000 
men ; it was to constitute the left wing, and to concen- 
trate about Landau and Rastatt. 

The IX th Corps, consisting of the 18th and the 
Hesse Divisions, was along with the Xllth Royal Saxon 
Corps to form a reserve of 60,000 men in front of 
Mayence, for the reinforcement of the Ilnd Army to a 
strength of 194,000 men. 

The three Armies numbered together 384,000 men. 

There still remained the 1st, Ilnd, and Vlth 
Corps, numbering 100,000 men ; but they were not 
at first included, as railway transport for them was 
not available for three weeks to come. The 17th 
Division and certain bodies of Landwehr troops were 
detailed to defend the coasts. 

It is apparent that numerically the German armies 
were considerably superior to the French. Inclusive 
of the garrisons and reserves about one million of 
men and over 200,000 horses were on the ration list. 

On the night of July 16th the Royal order for 
mobilization was issued, and when his Majesty 


arrived in Mayence fourteen days later, he found 
300,000 men assembled on the Rhine and beyond. 

The plan of campaign submitted by the Chief of 
the General Staff, and accepted by the King, proves 
that officer to have had his eye fixed, from the first, 
upon the capture of the enemy's capital, the posses- 
sion of which is of more importance in France than in 
other countries. On the way thither the hostile forces 
were to be driven as persistently as possible back from 
the fertile southern provinces into the more confined 
background to the north. But beyond everything the 
plan of campaign was based on the resolve to attack the 
enemy at once, wherever found, and keep the German 
forces always so compact that this could be done 
with the advantage of superior numbers. The specific 
dispositions for the accomplishment of those objects 
were left to be adopted on the spot ; the advance to the 
frontier was alone pre-arranged in every detail. 

It is a delusion to imagine that a plan of campaign 
can be laid down far ahead and fulfilled with exacti- 
tude. The first collision with the enemy creates a new 
situation in accordance with its result. Some things 
intended will have become impracticable ; others, which 
originally seemed impossible, become feasible. All 
that the leader of an army can do is to form a correct 
estimate of the circumstances, to decide for the best for 
the moment, and carry out his purpose unflinchingly. 

The advance of the French troops to the frontier, 
while as yet imperfectly mobilized, which was an ex- 
tremely hazardous measure in itself, was evidently with 
the intent of utilizing the temporary advantage of 
having a superior force at immediate disposition by 
taking at unawares the German armies in the act of 
developing their advance-movements. But, notwith- 
standing, the German commanders did not deviate 
from their purpose of promptly effecting this first 
advance in front of the Rhine. The railway transport 
of the Corps of the Ilnd and Illrd Armies, however, 


ended at the Rhine ; thence the troops marched on foot 
into the cantonments prepared on the left bank of the 
river. They moved in echelon, advancing only so 
many at a time as would make room for the body 
in rear, in the first instance to the line Bingen-Durk- 
heim-Landau. The farther advance towards the 
frontier was :.ot to be undertaken until the Divisions 
and Corps were all assembled, and provided with the 
necessary trains ; and then they were to march forward 
in a state of readiness to confront the enemy at any 

The massing of the 1st Army appeared to be 
less threatened, because its route was protected by 
neutral territory, and was covered by the garrisons of 
Treves, Saarlouis and Saarbriicken, the German out- 
posts on the Saar. 

The 1st Army, 50,000 strong, was concentrated at 
Wadern, in the first days of August. The Ilnd Army, 
which meanwhile had been increased to a strength of 
194,000 men, had pushed forward its cantonments 
to Alsenz-Giinnstadt, at the farther base of the Haardt 
Mountains, a position which had been thoroughly in- 
spected by an officer of the General Staff, and where 
the troops might confidently await an attack. The 5th 
and 6th cavalry Divisions were reconnoitring the coun- 
try in front. The Illrd Army was still assembling on 
both banks of the Rhine. 

The French so far had made no serious attempt at 
Saarbriicken ; Lieutenant-Colonel Pestel, with one 
battalion and three squadrons, was able successfully to 
withstand their petty attacks. It had meanwhile been 
observed that the hostile forces were moving farther to 
the right, towards Forbach and Bitsch. This seemed to 
indicate that the two French Corps known to be about 
Belfort and Strasburg, might purpose crossing the Rhine 
and marching through the Black Forest. It seemed 
therefore all the more important that the Illrd Army 
should be set in motion as early as possible, for one 


thing to protect the right bank of the Upper Rhine by 
an advance on the left ; for another, to cover the left 
flank of the Ilnd Army during its advance. 

A telegraphic order to that effect was despatched 
on the evening of July 30th, but the Head-quarters of 
the Illrd Army wished to wait for the arrival of the 
Vlth Corps and of the trains. Whereupon, regard- 
less of this delay, the Ilnd Army was put in march 
towards the Saar, where the French were beginning 
to be active. 

The time had gone by when they might have taken 
advantage of their over-hasty mobilization ; the in- 
efficient condition of the troops had paralyzed every 
attempt at activity. France had been long waiting 
for the news of a victory, and something had to be done 
to appease public impatience. So, in order to do some- 
thing, it was resolved (as is usual in such circumstances) 
to undertake a reconnoissance in force, and, it may be 
added, with the usual result. 

On August 2nd three entire Army Corps were set 
in motion against three battalions, four squadrons, and 
one battery in Saarbriicken. The Emperor himself and 
the Prince Imperial shared in the enterprise. The 
Illrd Corps advanced on Vblklingen, the Vth through 
Saargemiind, the Ilnd on Saarbriicken. 

Saarbriicken was evacuated after a gallant defence 
and repeated counter-strokes, but the French did not 
press across the Saar ; convinced, possibly, that they had 
wasted their strength in a stroke in the air, and had 
nowhere gained any insight into the dispositions of the 

The French military chiefs now hesitated for a long 
while between conflicting resolutions. Orders were 
given and recalled on the strength of mere ru- 
mours. The left wing was reinforced because 40,000 
Prussians were supposed to have marched through 
Treves, the Guard received contradictory orders, and 
the bare apparition of a small German force about 


Lorrach in the Black Forest occasioned the order 
that the Vllth Corps must remain in Alsace. Thus 
the French forces were straggled over the wide area 
between the Nied and the Upper Rhine, while the 
Germans were advancing in compact masses towards 
the Saar. 

This scattered state of their forces finally induced 
the French leaders to divide them into two separate 
Armies. Marshal MacMahon took command, but only 
provisionally, of the 1st, Vllth, and Vth Corps, of which 
the latter had therefore to draw in to him from Bitsch. 
The other Corps remained under Marshal Bazaine, with 
the exception of the Imperial Guard, the command of 
which the Emperor reserved to himself. 

It had now become a pressing necessity to protect the 
left wing of the advancing Ilnd German Army against 
the French forces in Alsace, and the Illrd Army was 
therefore ordered to cross the frontier on August 4th, 
without waiting any longer for its trains. The 1st 
Army, forming the right wing, was in complete readi- 
ness near Wadern and Losheim, three or four days' 
march nearer to the Saar than the Ilnd Army in the 
centre. It received the order to concentrate in the 
neighbourhood of Tholey and there halt for the present. 
For one thing, this army, the weakest of the three, could 
not be exposed single-handed to an encounter with 
the enemy's main force ; and for another, it was avail- 
able to serve as an offensive flank in case the Ilnd 
Army should meet the enemy on emerging from the 
forest zone of the Palatinate. 

In the execution of this order, the 1st Army had so 
extended its cantonments southward that they trenched 
on the line of march of the Ilnd Army, and it had to 
evacuate the quarters about Ottweiler in favour of the 
latter. This involved a difficulty, as all the villages to 
the north were full, and as room had also to be found for 
the 1st Corps, now advancing by Birkenfeld. General 
von Steinmetz therefore decided to march his whole 


army in the direction of Saarlouis and Saarbriicken. 
The Ilnd Army, on August 4th, stood assembled ready 
for action, and (received orders to deploy on the farther 
side of the forest zone of Kaiserslautern. 

(August 4th.) 

On this day the Corps of the Illrd Army, consist- 
ing of 128 battalions, 102 squadrons, and 80 batteries, 
which had been assembled in bivouac behind the Klings- 
bach, crossed the French frontier, marching on a broad 
front to reach the Lauter between Weissenburg and 
Lauterburg. This stream affords an exceptionally 
strong defensive position, but on August 4th only one 
weak Division and a cavalry brigade of the 1st French 
Corps covered this point, the main body of that Corps 
being still on the march towards the Palatinate. 

Early in the morning the Bavarians forming the 
right wing encountered a lively resistance before 
the walls of Weissenburg, which were too strong to be 
stormed. But very soon after the two Prussian Corps 
crossed the Lauter lower down. General von Bose 
led forward the Xlth Corps (which he commanded) 
with intent to turn the French right flank on the 
Geisberg, while General von Kirchbach, with the Vth 
Corps (which he commanded) advanced against the 
enemy's front. Thirty field-guns were meanwhile 
massed against the railway station of Weissenburg. 
It and subsequently the town were taken, after a bloody 

So early as ten o'clock General Douay had ordered a 
retreat, which was seriously threatened by the move- 
ment against the Geisburg ; and the chateau of that 
name, a very defensible building, was most obstinately 
defended to enable the French to retire. The Grena- 


diers of the King's Regiment No. 7 in vain as- 
sailed it by storm, suffering heavy loss ; nor did its 
defenders surrender until, with the greatest difficulty, 
artillery had been dragged up on to the height. 

The French Division, which had been attacked by 
three German Corps, effected a retreat after an obsti- 
nate struggle, though in great disorder, having suffered 
much loss. Its gallant Commander had been killed. 
The Germans had to bewail a proportionately consider- 
able loss ; their casualties were 91 officers and 1460 
men. General von Kirchbach had been wounded 
while fighting in the foremost rank. 

The 4th Division of cavalry Jiad met with much 
delay in the course of a nineteen miles' march by the 
crossing of the columns of infantry. It did not reach 
the scene of combat, and all touch of the enemy, now 
retiring to the westward, was lost. 

Uncertain as to the direction whence fresh hostile 
forces might be approaching, the Illrd Army advanced 
on the 5th of August by diverging roads in the direction 
of Hagenau and Reichshofen ; yet not so far apart but 
that it should be possible for the Corps to reconcen- 
trate in one short march. The Crown Prince intended 
to allow his troops a rest on the following day, so as to 
have them fresh for a renewed attack as soon as the 
situation was made clear. 

But already, that same evening, the Bavarians on 
the right flank and the Vth Corps in the front had a 
sharp encounter with the enemy, who showed behind 
the Sauer in considerable strength. It was to be 
assumed that Marshal MacMahon had brought up the 
Yllth Corps from Strasburg, but it remained a ques- 
tion whether he intended to join Marshal Bazaine by 
way of Bitsch, or whether, having secured his line of 
retreat thither, he meant to accept battle at Worth. 
Yet again there was the possibility that he might him- 
self initiate the offensive. The Crown Prince, to make 
sure in any case of a preponderance of force, determined 


to concentrate his army in the neighbourhood of Sulz 
on August 6th. The Ilnd Bavarian Corps received 
separate instructions to watch the road from Bitsch with 
one Division ; the other Division was to strike the hostile 
attack in flank on the western bank of the Sauer, in 
the event of artillery fire about Worth being heard. 

Marshal MacMahon was endeavouring with all his 
might to concentrate his three Corps, and he really had 
the intention to make an immediate attack on his 
invading foe. A Division of the Vllth Corps, which 
had but just been sent to Miilhausen to strengthen the 
defence of Alsace, was at once recalled to Hagenau, 
and early on the 6th formed the right wing of the 
strong position which the 1st Corps had taken up be- 
hind the Sauer, and in front of Froschwiller, Elsass- 
hausen, and Eberbach. On the left, Lespart's Division 
of the Vth Corps was expected from Bitsch, of which 
the other Divisions were only now on march from 
Saargemiind by way of Rohrbach. Meanwhile Dticrot's 
Division formed a refused flank on the French left. 

Neither the German nor the French leaders expected 
the collision before the following day, but when, as in 
this case, the adversaries are in so close proximity, the 
conflict may break out at any moment, even against 
the wish of the higher commanders. 

(August 6th.) 

After a good deal of skirmishing between the re- 
spective outposts during the night, the Commander of 
the 20th German Brigade l thought it expedient to seize 

i General "Walther von Montbary. Tt is Molkte's custom through- 
out this work, except in regard to his prime aversion, Prince 
Frederick Charles, to refrain from naming an officer whom by im- 
plication he is censuring, but this is simply a nuance, since he 
specifies the culprit's military position. 


a passage over the Sauer, which flowed just in his 
front and constituted a serious obstacle. The bridge 
leading to Worth had been destroyed, but the sharp- 
shooters waded through the river, and at seven o'clock 
pressed into the town, which the French had left 

Soon enough they realized that before them was a 
numerous enemy in a strong position. 

The broad meadows of the Sauer all lie within effec- 
tive range of the commanding slopes on the right bank ; 
and the long-ranging chassepot fire could not but tell 
heavily. On the French side of the river the terrain 
was dotted with vineyards and hop-gardens, which 
afforded great advantages for defensive purposes. 

The combat which had begun at Worth was broken 
off after lasting half an hour, but the artillery of both 
sides had taken part in it, and the sound of cannon-fire 
had been the signal prescribed to Hartmann's Ilnd 
Bavarian Corps, acting on which it now advanced from 
Langensulzbach, and was soon engaged in a brisk fight 
with the left flank of the French. The latter on their 
side had advanced on their right to the attack of Gun- 
stett, where they came in contact with the advancing 
Xlth Prussian Corps. 

The din of battle, rolling from the north and south 
alike, was heard by the Vth Corps in its position 
opposite to Worth ; and it seemed imperative that it 
should engage with vigour the enemy's centre in order 
to hinder him from throwing himself with all his 
strength on one or other of the German flanks. 

The artillery was brought up, and by ten o'clock 108 
is were in action on the eastern slope of the Sauer 

Some infantry detachments waded breast-high 
through the river, but this dashing attempt, under- 
taken in inadequate strength, miscarried, and it was 
only by strenuous efforts that a foothold was main- 
tained on the other side. 


The Crown Prince sent orders that nothing was to 
be undertaken that would bring on a battle on that 
day. But by this time the Vth Corps was so seriously 
engaged that the fight could not be broken off without 
obvious disadvantage. General von Kirchbach there- 
fore determined to continue the contest on his own 

The frontal attack was an undertaking of great 
difficulty, and could scarcely succeed unless with the 
co-operation of another on the flank. But at this junc- 
ture the Bavarians, who, in position as they were on the 
right, could have afforded this co-operation, obeyed the 
breaking off command, which had also reached them in 
the course of the fighting, and withdrew to Langen- 
sulzbach. There was, however, the Xlth Corps in 
position on the left, eager to strike in. It seized the 
Albrechts-hauser farm, and pressed forward into the 

In front of Worth the battle hung, consisting of a 
succession of attacks renewed again and again on either 
side ; each assailant in turn getting worsted, in conse- 
quence of the nature of the country. By degrees, how- 
ever, the collective battalions, and finally the artillery 
of the Vth Corps, were brought over to the west bank of 
the Sauer ; while the Xlth Corps had already won 
there a firm point of support for further advance. 

Just then, near Morsbronn, notwithstanding the evi- 
dent unfavourable nature of the ground, two Cuirassier 
and one Lancer regiments of Michel's brigade hurled 
themselves with reckless daring on a body of German 
infantry taken in the act of wheeling to the right. 
But the 32nd Regiment, far from seeking cover, 
received in open order the charging mass of over 
1000 horse with a steady fire which did great exe- 
cution. The Cuirassiers especially suffered immense 
loss. Only a few horsemen broke through the 
firing line and gained the open ground ; many were 
taken prisoners in the village, the remainder rode 


in wild gallop as far as Walburg. There they en- 
countered the Prussian 13th Hussars, suffered further 
loss, and disappeared from the field. 

It is true that the infantry of the French right 
wing succeeded in driving back the foremost detach- 
ments of the Germans about Albrechts-hauser farm, 
but the further advance of the former was shattered by 
the fire of newly-unmasked artillery. 

When finally the last battalions had crossed the 
Sauer, the Xlth Corps made its way through the 
Nicderwald, fighting its way step by step. The 
northern edge of the forest was reached by 2.30, and 
there a junction was formed with the left flank of the 
Vth Corps. The burning village of Elsasshausen was 
carried by storm, and the little copse south of Frosch- 
willer was also won after a gallant defence. 

Thus crowded together in a limited space, the French 
army was in a situation of imminent danger. Its left 
flank, it is true, still held out against the renewed attack 
of the Bavarians, who had re-entered the action, 
but its front and right flank were terribly hard 
pressed, and even its retreat was seriously threatened. 
Marshal MacMahon therefore tried to obtain a 
breathing space by a heavy counter-stroke to the 
south. The weak German detachments standing to 
the east of Elsasshausen, thrown into confusion by 
the vehement attack, were in part driven back into 
the Niederwald, but were quickly rallied and brought 

iup again. Here the French cavalry strove once 
more to change the fortunes of the day. Bonne- 
main's Division, notwithstanding the unfavourable 
nature of the ground, threw itself on the dishevelled 
front of the enemy, suffered terrible losses, and was 
shattered without having been able effectively to 
charge home. 

The Wiirtembergers now came up from the south, 
and the Bavarians from the north. General von Bose, 
though twice wounded, led what of his troops he 



could collect to the storm of the burning Froschwiller, 
the enemy's last stronghold. The artillery moved up 
within case-shot range, and thus cleared the road for 
the infantry which was pushing forward from all sides. 
After maintaining to the utmost a resolute and gallant 
resistance until five o'clock, the French retreated in 
great disorder towards Reichshofen and Niederbronn. 

At the Falkenstein stream, Lespart's Division, just 
arrived on the field, made a short stand, but these 
fresh troops offered only brief resistance, and were 
swept away in the general rout. 

This victory of the Illrd Army had been dearly paid 
for with the loss of 489 oificers and 10,000 men. The 
loss on the French side is not exactly known, but of 
prisoners alone they left 200 oificers and 9000 men, 
and in the German hands there remained 33 guns and 
2000 horses. 

The disintegration of the French army must have 
been so complete as to throw it altogether out of hand. 
Only one brigade of Lespart's Division took the road by 
Bitsch to join the French main army at St. Avoid ; all 
the rest of the army, following an infectious impulse, 
rolled unhaltingly in a south-western direction towards 

As in the Head-quarter of the Illrd Army it had not 
been intended to fight on August 6th, the 4th Division of 
cavalry had not left its quarters in the rear, and was 
therefore not available to take up the pursuit ; it did 
not reach Gunstett until nine o'clock in the evening. 
But, in order to be at hand at any rate for the next 
day, Prince Albert marched his command on during 
the night as far as Eberbach ; after three hours' rest 
he started again, and after covering thirty-six miles, 1 
came up in the evening with the rearguard of the 
enemy near Steinberg, at the foot of the Vosges. 
Without infantry it would have been impossible for the 

1 Throughout the miles are English miles. 


Division to push farther, but the sight of it gave the 
enemy a fresh impulse of flight. The 1st Corps stam- 
peded again in the night and reached Saarburg, where 
it joined the Vth Corps. Thus the French had a start 
of twenty-three and a half miles, and continued their 
retreat on Luneville, unmolested by the Germans. 

(August 6th.) 

Let us now turn to the events which occurred, on 
this same 6th of August, in another part of the theatre 
of war. 

The Ilnd Army, its southern (left) flank covered by the 
Illrd Army, had been moving to the westward, while the 
Corps it still lacked were being brought up by railway. 
Its leading Corps, having traversed unmolested the 
long defiles of the forest-belt of Kaiserslautem, reached 
on the 5th the line Neunkirchen Zweibriicken. The 
cavalry, scouting into French territory, reported that 
the enemy was retreating. Everything seemed to 
indicate that the French would await the attack of the 
Germans in a strong defensive position. The nearest 
position of the kind that offered was that on the farther 
bank of the Moselle, of which Metz protected one flank, 
Thionville the other. It was decided that if the French 
were found in that position, the 1st Army should hold 
the enemy in front, while the Ilnd made a circuit south 
of Metz, and so the enemy be forced either to retire 
or to fight. In case of disaster the Ilnd Army was 
to fall back on the Illrd, now advancing over the 

The protrusion to the south-westward 1 of the 1st Army 
towards the Saar, which had not been intended by the 

1 South-eastward. 

c 2 


supreme Command, had brought its left wing in upon the 
line of march laid down for the Ilnd, and detachments of 
the two armies had to cross each other at Saarbriicken 
on the 6th. Thus there was indeed no lack of strength 
at that point ; but as a battle on that day was neither 
expected nor probable, the synchronous arrival of 
troops had not been pre-arranged, and so detachments 
could only come up by quite unprescribed routes and 
arrive one after the other at different hours. 

The 14th Division of the Vllth Corps was the first 
to reach Saarbriicken, towards noon on the 6th. 

General Frossard, considering his position there very 
hazardous, had left the night before, without waiting 
for permission, and had fallen back with the Ilnd Corps 
on Spicheren, where it had entrenched itself. The 
Illrd, IVth, and Vth Corps were behind, at distances of 
from nine to nineteen miles, and the Imperial Guard 
was about twenty-three miles rearward. The Emperor, 
therefore, had it in his power to collect five Corps for a 
battle in the vicinity of Cocheren, or, on the other 
hand, to support Frossard with at least four Divisions, 
if that General were confident that his position was 
strong enough to hold. 

The range of heights which upheaves itself immedi- 
ately behind Saarbriicken is capable of affording a 
serious obstacle to a hostile passage of the Saar. It 
was known that the French had evacuated those 
heights, but General von Kameke thought it prudent 
to seize them at once, in order to secure the debouche 
of the columns following him. When, in the forenoon, 
two squadrons of the 5th Cavalry Division showed 
themselves on the drill-ground on the ridge above the 
farther bank, they were greeted with a hot fire from 
the Spicheren heights. But as it seemed highly pro- 
bable, from the previous behaviour of the French, that 
the force seen there was only the rear-guard of the 
retiring enemy, General von Kameke (commanding 
14th Infantry Division) ordered an immediate attack, 


since he had the promise of reinforcements. General 
von Zastrow (commanding Vllth Corps), as soon as he 
recognized that the 14th Division had involved itself in 
a serious engagement, allowed the 13th to go forward. 
General von Alvensleben (its commander) also ordered 
up to Saarbriicken all the available troops of the Illrd 
Corps, and with equal promptitude General von Goeben 
(commanding VHIth Corps) hurried thither the entire 
16th Division. Generals von Doring (commanding 
9th Infantry Brigade) and von Barnekow (commanding 
16th Infantry Division), belonging respectively to these 
two Corps (Illrd and VHIth), had besides already 
struck forward from Tudweiler and Fischbach in the 
direction of the cannon-thunder, even before receiving 
orders to that effect. 

The position occupied by the French was one of 
exceptional advantage. In the centre projected the 
Red Hill (der Rothe Berg), a precipitous and almost 
inaccessible cliff ; and the steep slopes on either side 
were densely wooded. On the left the massive build- 
ings of the Stiering-Wendel ironworks furnished a 
separate defensive position. 

Had the strength of the enemy been fully known 
the attack would certainly have been delayed until the 
whole of the 14th Division had arrived. As a matter 
of fact, at the beginning of the fight, about noon, only 
von Fran9ois' Brigade (27th) had come up, and this 
force, in the effort to facilitate an attack on the natu- 
rally strong position held by the enemy's front, assailed 
in the first instance both his flanks. 

At first it succeeded in making progress. On the left 
the 39th Regiment drove the swarms of hostile skir- 
mishers out of the wood of Gifert, but then became 
exposed to the bitter fire of a French battalion lining 
the farther side of a deep hollow. On the right flank 
its 3rd Battalion, together with the 74th Regiment, 
seized the wood of Stiering. But the enemy's superior 
strength soon displayed itself in violent counter-attacks, 


and when Von WoynaV Brigade (28th) reached the 
field it had to furnish reinforcements to both flanks. 
Thus, at an early stage, intermingling of battalions and 
companies began, which increased with every subse- 
quent rush, and made the control of the combat a 
matter of extraordinary difficulty. Added to this was 
the circumstance that three Commanding Generals in 
succession came up to the scene of the conflict, and one 
after the other took the chief control. 

At about one o'clock, simultaneously with the 
flanks, the Fusilier Battalion of the 74th Regiment 
pushed forward in front, under a severe fire across 
the open ground towards the Red Hill, and, under such 
trivial cover as offered, established itself at the foot 
of the cliff. When at about three o'clock the Prus- 
sian artillery compelled the foe to move his guns 
farther up the hill, the Fusiliers, with General von 
Fran9ois at their head, began to climb the cliff. The 
French Chasseurs, evidently taken by surprise, were 
driven from the most advanced entrenchments with 
clubbed rifles and at the point of the bayonet. The 
9th company of the 39th Regiment followed close, and 
the gallant General, charging farther forward along 
with it, fell pierced by five bullets. Nothing daunted, 
the small body of Fusiliers made good its grip of the 
narrow spur of the cliff. 

Nevertheless, a crisis was imminent. The 14th 
Division was extended over a distance of about three 
and a half miles, its left wing had been repulsed by 
greatly superior forces in the wood of Gifert, its right 
wing was hard pressed at Stiering. But now, at four 
o'clock, the heads of the 5th and 16th Divisions simul- 
taneously struck in, shortly after their batteries, which 
had been sent on ahead, had come into action. 

The left wing, strongly reinforced, now again pressed 
forward. General von Barnekow 2 led trusty succours 

1 There were two Major-Generals of this name, both commanding 
Brigades; one the 28th, Vllth Corps, the other 39th, Xth Corps. 

2 Commanding 16th Division, Vlllth Corps. 


up on to the Red Hill, where the Fusiliers had almost 
entirely exhausted their ammunition, and drove the 
French out from all their entrenchments. As the 
result of a fierce struggle the Germans also succeeded 
in taking possession of the western part of the wood of 
Gifert. The right wing with sharp fighting had pressed 
on to Alt Stiering and was approaching the enemy's line 
of retreat, the Forbach highway. General Frossard 

I had, however, recognized the danger threatened at this 
point, and reinforced his left wing to the strength of a 
Division and a half. This force advanced to the attack 
at five o'clock. On the German side there was no 
formed force to oppose to it, so all the previously 
gained advantages were lost. 

If the 13th Division 1 had here struck in with a re- 
solute attack, the battle would have ended. This 
Division after, indeed, a march of nearly nineteen 
miles had reached Puttlingen at one o'clock, where it 
was little more than four miles distant from Stiering. 
When the fighting about Saarbriicken was heard it is 
true that at four p.m. the advanced guard moved for- 
ward to Rossel. It would seem that the roar of the 
cannon was not audible in that wooded region ; the 
impression was that the combat was over, and the 
Division bivouacked at Volkingen, which place had 
been previously named as the end of its march by the 
Corps Commander at a time when he was, of course, 
unable to foresee the change in the situation. 

The French offensive movement had meanwhile been 
brought to a stand by the seven batteries in position on 
the Folster height ; the infantry then succeeded in 
making fresh progress, under the personal leadership 
of General von Zastrow. 

The nature of the ground entirely prohibited the 
twenty-nine squadrons of cavalry which had arrived 
from all directions and were drawn up out of the range 
of fire, from taking part in the action. The Hussars 
tried in vain to ride up the Red Hill, but in spite of 
1 Commanded by General Glumen. 


incredible difficulties Major von Lyncker finally gained 
the summit with eight guns, amid the loud cheering of 
the hard-pressed infantry. The guns, as each one came 
up, at once came into action against three French bat- 
teries ; but quite half of the gunners were shot down 
by sheltered French tirailleurs, at a range of about 800 
paces. A small strip of ground in front was indeed 
won, but the narrow space allowed of no deployment 
against the wide front of the enemy. 

But effective assistance was coming from the right. 
General von Goeben had despatched all the battalions of 
the 16th Division not yet engaged, in the decisive direc- 
tion toward Stiering. While one part of these troops 
made a frontal attack on the village, the rest climbed 
from the high-road up the defiles of the Spicheren woods, 
in a hand-to-hand encounter drove the French from the 
saddle leading to the Red Hill, and pushed them farther 
and farther back towards the Forbach height. 

Even as late as seven o'clock on the French right 
wing Laveaucoupet's Division, supported by part of 
Bataille's, advanced to the attack and once more pene- 
trated into the oft-contested Gifert wood, but the danger 
threatening the French left wing from the Spicheren 
wood paralyzed this effort. By nightfall the French 
were falling back over the whole plateau. 

At nine o'clock, when their " Retreat " call was 
sounding from the heights, General von Schwerin (com- 
manding 10th Infantry Brigade) made sure of night 
quarters by occupying Stiering, where resistance was 
only quelled, at many points, after a hand-to-hand fight. 
The advanced guard of the 13th Division advanced on 
Forbach, but did not occupy it, having allowed itself 
to be hoodwinked by some French Dragoons in 

Apart from this, General Frossard had abandoned the 
line of retreat by the so seriously threatened Forbach- 
St. Avoid road, and fell back with all his three divisions 
on Oetingen. The darkness, and the impossibility of 


handling large bodies of cavalry in such a country, 
saved him from further pursuit. 

General von. Steinmetz ordered the re-organization of 
the dislocated bodies of troops that same night. Some 
of them had marched more than twenty-eight miles ; 
two batteries, arriving from Konigsberg by rail, had 
immediately set out for the battle-field. But it re- 
mains that the Germans at no time of the day 
attained the numerical strength of the enemy in this 
engagement, which had been begun with insufficient 
forces. Only thirteen batteries could be brought into 
action in the limited space, and the cavalry remained 
excluded from all participation. It was only natural, 
under the circumstances, that the losses of the assailants 
were greater than those of the defence. The Prussians 
lost 4871, the French 4078 men. The fact was signifi- 
cant that a considerable number of unwounded French 
prisoners were taken in this early action. 

In strong contrast to the comradeship and mutual 
helpfulness displayed by the Prussian Generals, and the 
eagerness of their troops to hurry into the fight, was the 
strange vacillation of the Divisions in General Frossard's 
rear ; of which three, indeed, were sent forward to his 
support, but only two came up, and that when the fight 
was already ended. 

It has been vehemently asserted that the battle of 
Spicheren was fought in an ill-judged locality, and that 
it interfered with more important plans. It certainly had 
not been anticipated. But, generally speaking, a tactical 
victory rarely fails to fit in with a strategic design. 
Success in battle has always been thankfully accepted, 
and turned to account. By the battle of Spicheren the 
Ilnd French Corps was prevented from withdrawing 
unharmed ; touch of the enemy's main force was 
obtained, and to the supreme Direction of the armies 
was afforded a basis for further resolutions. 



Marshal MacMahon in his retreat had taken a 
direction which entirely severed his touch with Marshal 

As he was not pursued, he could have used the Lune- 
ville-Metz railway to effect his union with the French 
main army ; for up to the 9th it was still open. But 
rumour had it that the Prussians had already appeared 
in Pont a Mousson, and the state of his troops did not 
permit him thus early to risk another engagement. 

His 1st Corps, therefore, marched southwards on 
Neufchateau, whence Chalons could be reached by rail- 
way. The Vth Corps was being shifted to and fro by 
contradictory orders from the Emperor's head-quarters. 
First it was to proceed to Nancy, then to take an 
opposite direction towards Langres. On arriving at 
Charmes it was ordered to Toul, but from Chaumont it 
was finally directed to proceed to Chalons. General 
Trochu had there located the newly-formed Xllth 
Corps, and behind this gathering point the Vllth Corps 
also managed to get away from Alsace and reach Rheims 
by rail by way of Bar sur Aube and Paris. 

Thus by August 22nd a Reserve Army was formed, 
consisting of four Corps and two Cavalry Divisions, 
under the command of Marshal MacMahon, who, how- 
ever, at a distance, as he was, of about 120 miles, 
was unable to render timely assistance to Marshal 
Bazaine, who stood directly in the line of the advancing 

When the news of the double disaster of August 6th 
reached the Imperial Head-quarter, the first im- 
pression there was that it would be necessary to retreat 
immediately on Chalons with Bazaine's army ; and the 
Vlth Corps, a portion of which was already being 
transported thence to Metz, was ordered to retrace its 
steps. But this resolution was presently retracted. 
The Emperor had not merely to consider the foreign 


enemy, but public opinion within his own realm. The 
sacrifice of entire provinces at the very beginning of 
a war which had been undertaken with such high 
anticipations, would have provoked the unbounded 
indignation of the French people. There were still 
200,000 men who could be brought together in front 
of the Moselle, supported by a large fortress, and though 
the enemy would still have the superiority in numbers, 
his army was holding a line nearly sixty miles long. 
It had yet to cross the Moselle, and this would 
necessitate a dislocation which might create a weakness 
at the critical moment. 

In the Illrd German Army the disorderly condition 
of the defeated enemy was not known, nor even the 
direction of his retreat. It was expected that 
MacMahon's Army would be found rallied on the 
farther side of the Vosges for renewed resistance ; and 
as it was impossible to cross the mountains except in 
detached columns, the German advance was very 
cautious, and by short marches only. Though the 
distance between Reichshofen and the Saar is not more 
than about twenty-eight miles in a straight line, that 
river was only reached in five days. Nothing was seen 
of the enemy, except in the fortified places, small 
indeed, but too strong to be taken by storm, which 
command the highways in the mountains. Bitsch had 
to be avoided by a fatiguing circuit, Lichtenberg was 
captured by surprise, Liitzelstein had been abandoned 
by its garrison, the investment ofPfalzburg was handed 
over to the approaching Vlth Corps, and Marsal 
capitulated after a short resistance. 

The German left wing had no enemy before it, and 
could be brought into closer connection with the centre. 
To bring the three armies abreast of each other a wheel 
to the right was requisite. The advance of the 1st and 
Ilnd Armies had, however, to be delayed, as the Illrd 
did not reach the Saar until August 12th. The whole 
movement was so arranged that the Illrd Army was to 


use the roads by Saarunion and Dieuze, and to south- 
ward ; the Ilnd those by St. Avoid and Nomeny and to 
southward ; the 1st those by Saarlouis and Les Etangs, 
the last also taking the direction of Metz. 

The cavalry Divisions which were reconnoitring far 
to the front, reported the enemy as retreating all along 
the line. They ranged close up to Metz, and across 
the Moselle both above and below the place, forcing 
the detachments of Canrobert's Corps, which had again 
been ordered up from Chalons, to return thither. All 
their information indicated that very large masses were 
encamped in front of Metz. From this it might equally 
be inferred that the enemy intended to retreat further, 
or, with his whole force concentrated, to strike hard at 
the right wing of the German Army, at the moment 
when the impending crossing of the Moselle should 
make its severance from the left wing unavoidable. 

The chief Head-quarter restricted itself in ordinary 
course to issuing general directions, the execution of 
which was left in detail to the army commanders ; but 
in this instance it was deemed necessary in the 
momentary circumstances to regulate the movements of 
each separate corps by specific orders. On August 
llth the Head-quarter of his Majesty was therefore 
transferred to St. Avoid, in the front line, and midway 
between the 1st and Ilnd Armies, so as, by being in 
the immediate vicinity, to be able to exercise timely 
authority to either hand. The three Corps of the 1st 
Army advanced towards the German Nied on August 
12th, only to find that the French had evacuated that 
position. Three Corps of the Ilnd Army on the left of 
the 1st also moved forward in prolongation of the same 
front by Faulquemont and Morhange, while two others 

On the next day the Ilnd Army reached the Seille, 
without encountering the enemy, and occupied Pont a 
Mousson with infantry. 

The strangely inactive attitude of the French made 
it seeni quite probable that they might not make any 


stand in front of Metz, a probability strengthened by 
the reports of the German cavalry, which was scouting 
as far as Toul and on to the Verdun road. But there 
always loomed the possibility that the enemy would 
throw himself with 200 battalions on the 1st Army, 
now in his immediate front. The two Corps forming 
the right wing of the Ilnd Army were v therefore 
ordered to halt for the present, a little to the south of 
Metz, ready to deliver a shattering blow on the flank 
of any such attack. If the enemy preferred to assail 
these Corps, then would devolve on the 1st Army on its 
part the prompt assumption of the offensive. 

Meanwhile the other Corps of the Ilnd Army were 
pursuing the march towards the Moselle farther to the 
southward ; if the enemy should attack them with 
superior forces after they had crossed the river, it 
would be possible for them, in case of need, to fall back 
on the Illrd Army. 

So much caution was not universally deemed 
essential ; it was argued that the French seemed 
already committed to full retreat, they ought not to 
be allowed to get away without punishment, and it 
followed that the German Army should strike without 
delay. The French had, indeed, already committeed 
themselves to a further retreat ; but when in the after- 
noon (of the 14th) the Vllth Corps discerned their retro- 
grade movement, a fight began on the hither side of 
the Moselle, which, by the voluntary intervention of 
the nearest bodies of troops, developed into a battle in 
the course of the evening. 

(August 14th.) 

The Commandant of Metz had declared his inability 
to hold that place for a fortnight, if left to his own 
resources ; but the chosen and intrenched position on 
the Nied, taken up to cover the fortress, had been 


found locally defective, and the French Head-quarter 
hoped to find a more favourable defensive position 
in the vicinity of Verdun. 

Military necessity outweighed even a politic regard 
for public opinion, and the Emperor, although he had 
transferred the command-in-chief to Marshal Bazaine, 
still remained with the army, for it would have been 
impossible for him to return to Paris in existing 

Very early in the morning of the 14th August the 
multitudinous trains were being withdrawn through 
the city, and towards noon the Ilnd, IVth, and Vlth 
Corps got in motion, while the Illrd Corps remained 
in position behind the deep valley of the Colombey 
brook, to cover the retirement. 

When, at four in the afternoon, the break-up of the 
enemy was perceived, General von der Goltz (command- 
ing 26th Infantry Brigade) with the advanced guard 
of the Vllth Corps struck him in the act, and wrenched 
from him Colombey and the Chateau d'Aubigny on 
his right flank. But, at the first cannon sound, the 
French columns immediately turned about, fully 
equipped for fighting, and eager, after their many 
previous disasters, to break the spell by a desperate 
effort. Castagny's Division threw itself in greatly 
superior force upon the weak German detachment in 
the isolated position of Colombey, which held its own 
only by the utmost exertion. 

Already the advanced guard of the 1st Army Corps 
was approaching by both the high-roads from Saar- 
brticken and Saarlouis ; and its batteries having pushed 
on ahead, at once took part in the engagement. Passing 
through Lauvallier, the infantry followed close, climbed 
the eastern slope of the plateau of Bellecroix, and 
farther to the right drove the enemy out of the wood 
east of Mey. But the presence at this point of the 
main body of the French Illrd Corps gave pause to the 
German offensive for the time. 


The 13th, 1st, and 2nd Divisions had meanwhile 
followed their respective advanced guards, the two 
latter having been held in full readiness by General 
von Manteuffel ever since his outposts had reported 
that the enemy was moving. General von Zastrow, 
too, arrived on the field, and took ,over the command 
of the left wing. Soon sixty field-pieces were in action 
against the enemy. General von Osten-Sacken hurried 
forward the 25th Brigade through the hollow of Coincy, 
and climbed on to the edge of the upland. The clump 
of fir-trees on the road to Bellecroix was taken by 
storm, was surrounded on three sides, was lost again in 
a bloody conflict, and was once more recaptured. Soon 
afterwards two batteries succeeded in establishing them- 
selves above Planchette, whose fire drove the French 
back as far as Borny ; yet still the conflict raged on 
both sides with the utmost fury. 

But now there threatened the German right the 
danger of being out-flanked. General Ladmirault, on 
learning that Grenier's Division had been driven out of 
Mey, immediately set out to its support with his other 
two Divisions, retook the village, and pressed farther for- 
ward by the Bouzonville road. General von Manteuffel 
had meanwhile given the necessary orders for holding, 
at all hazards, the deep-cut trough of the Vallieres 
brook which covered the flank. The 1st Brigade was 
posted behind Noisseville as general reserve, the 4th, 
and part of the artillery of the 1st Corps, marched by 
the Bouzonville road to confront General Ladmirault 
near Poix, while the remaining batteries from the 
southern slopes to the eastward of Nouilly enfiladed his 
advance. On the left, Gliimer's Division (13th) had all 
this time been holding its ground at Colombey, and 
now, at seven o'clock in the evening, Woyna's Brigade 
came to its assistance, and took possession of the 
copses westward of Colombey. A very welcome rein- 
forcement now arrived from the Ilnd Army remaining 
halted on the Seine. 


The 18th Infantry Division, after a heavy march, 
had bivouacked near Buchy in the afternoon, but when 
General von Wrangel (its commander) was informed 
that fighting was audible from the locality of the 1st 
Army, he promptly set his Division in motion in that 
direction. He drove the enemy out of Peltre, and 
then in conjunction with Woyna's Brigade occupied 
Grigy, somewhat in rear of the French position in front 
of Borny. 

On the right wing of the fighting line, the 2nd 
Division had also pushed on towards Mey, by way of 
Nouilly and through the adjacent vineyards ; and, as 
darkness was setting in, that village and the adjoining 
woods were wrenched from the enemy. The French 
had not advanced beyond Villers 1'Orme, and they now 
withdrew all along their line from that village to Grigy. 
The Prussians, as they followed up after dark, were 
molested only by the fire of the heavy guns of the 
forts, more especially Fort St. Julien. 

The engagement of August 14th cost them the heavy 
loss of 5000 men, inclusive of 200 officers ; while the 
French lost only 3600 men, their Illrd Corps being 
the heaviest sufferer. The vicinity of a great fortress 
of course prevented the reaping of the fruits of victory 
by an immediate pursuit. It was for the same reason 
that a battle on the part of the 1st Army on that day 
had not been included in the concerted plan of action, 
though the possibility of such an occurrence had been 
foreseen. Although it was true that but one Division of 
the Ilnd Army (the 18th) had been able to hasten to the 
aid of the 1st, and that after the late opening of the fight, 
its assault on the left l flank of the enemy had not failed 
of its effect. 

The manner in which the battle originated rendered 
unity of direction impossible. 

It was but the advanced-guards of four Divisions 
which were the troops principally engaged ; and the 
1 Clearly should be " right." 


daring attacks made on greatly superior hostile forces 
by small bodies unfollowed by immediate supports 
occasioned many critical moments, which might have 
been dangerous if the enemy had pushed forward more 
energetically in closely concentrated strength. But 
while, for instance, his Illrd Corps received no support 
from the Imperial Guard standing close behind it, the 
contrast presented itself that on the Prussian side, in 
this as in the previous battles, there shone forth, along 
with their ready acceptance of personal responsibility, 
the eager mutual helpfulness of all the commanders 
within reach of the battle-field. 

An essential share of the success of the day must be 
attributed to the artillery. Hurrying along in front, 
leaving the responsibility of covering it to the advanced 
guards which reached forward before the main bodies 
of the Divisions had time to come up, it drove the 
French completely out of their positions before Metz, 
and back under the guns of the defences of the 

The protection so afforded to the enemy rendered 
it impossible that the victory of Colombey-Nouilly 
should yield any trophies, but the supreme Command 
was quite content with the results obtained. The re- 
treat of the enemy had been arrested, and a day had 
been gained for the crossing of the Moselle by the Ilnd 
and Illrd Armies. 

August 15th. In the early morning of the 15th the 
cavalry had ridden forward to the outworks of Metz, but 
found none of the enemy on this side of the fortress. 
A few shells scared away the Imperial Head-quarter 
from Longeville on the further side of the Moselle. 

As King William was riding over to visit the 1st 
Army, immense clouds of dust were observed rising on 
the further side of the fortress ; and it was no longer 
doubtful that the French had begun their retreat, and 
that the Ilnd Army was henceforth free to follow 
across the Moselle with all its Corps. 



The 1st Corps of the 1st Army was necessarily left at 
Courcelles, south of Metz, to protect the railway, the 
other two were brought up left- ward towards the Seille ; 
and they were also by-and-by to cross the Moselle higher 
up, so as to avoid interference from the fortress. 

The French had started again on the retreat inter- 
rupted on the previous day, but proceeded little more 
than four miles l beyond Metz on August 15th. Their 
cavalry only went somewhat farther ahead, by both the 
roads to Verdun. 

The Illrd Corps of the German Ilnd Army crossed 
the Moselle at Nove'ant, by the bridge which was found 
intact, and by a flying pontoon bridge ; its artillery, 
however, was forced to make a detour by Pont a Mousson. 

It was not until late at night that the troops were 
all across and in bivouac close to the left bank. One 
Division of the Xth Corps remained at Pont a Mousson 
and the other advanced to Thiaucourt. The cavalry 
scouted farther forward towards the Metz -Verdun 
road, and struck in on the French cavalry near Mars la 
Tour. Several small engagements took place, but 
when early in the afternoon twenty-four Prussian 
squadrons had assembled, the French retired on Vion- 
ville. The Guard Corps and the IVth Corps crossed at 
Dieulouard and Marbache, higher up the river. 

The Illrd Army advanced to the line Nancy- 
Bayon. On this day an attempt to seize the fortress of 
Thionville by surprise proved a failure. 

(August 16th.) 

In the Head- quarter of the Ilnd Army there was the 
belief that serious fighting with the French was no 

1 On the night of 15th, four of Bazaine's five Corps (less one 
Division) bivouacked at distances of from eight to ten miles westwai * 
of Metz ; viz., from beyond Rezonville rearward to Gravelotte. 


more to be anticipated on the Moselle, and therefore 
two Corps, the Illrd and the Xth, were ordered to 
march on August 16th, northwards toward the road to 
Verdun by way of Gorze and Thiaucourt, while the 
other Corps were directed to advance by forced marches 
westwards towards the Meuse. 

The French retreat from Metz was, however, not 
completely effected on this day. The trains blocked 
every road, and in the forenoon three Divisions still 
remained behind in the Moselle valley. The Emperor, 
however, escorted by two brigades of cavalry, had 
departed at an early hour by the road through Etain, 
which was still comparatively safe. As the right wing 
of the army could not yet follow, the prosecution of 
the retreat was postponed until the afternoon, and 
the left wing, which had already begun the march, 
was sent back again into its bivouacs. But so early 
as nine o'clock Prussian shells startled the troops from 
their rest. 

Major Korber had advanced with four batteries 
close up to Vionville under cover of the cavalry, and 
the French troopers, surprised by their fire, fled in 
utter confusion through the camp of the infantry. 
The latter, however, briskly got under arms in good 
order, and the artillery opened a heavy fire. Destitute 
at first of infantry supports, the Prussian guns were 
withdrawn. Matters soon became serious. 

General von Alvensleben, fearing lest he should fail 
to overtake the enemy, had started again with the Illrd 
Corps after a short night's rest. The 6th Division 
marched on the left, by Onville ; the 5th, on the right, 
followed the long forest valley on the way to Gorze. 
This valley so capable of defence was found unoccupied 
by the enemy, who indeed had taken very few pre- 
cautions. The advanced-guard presently encountered 
Berges' French Division on the open plateau south of 
Flavigny, and General von Stiilpnagel (commanding 5th 
Infantry Division) soon discovered that he had before 

D 2 


him an enemy whom it would take all his strength to 
beat. At ten o'clock he began operations by sending 
forward the 10th Brigade (commanded by General von 
Schwerin) ; and opened fire with twenty-four guns. 

Both sides now assumed the offensive. The Prus- 
sians, on the right, fought their way with varying 
fortunes through the wood, often in hand-to-hand 
encounter, and, towards eleven o'clock, succeeded in 
reaching the spur of the wood of St. Arnould projecting 
in the direction of Flavigny. Their left wing, on the 
contrary, was repulsed ; even the artillery was in 
danger ; but the 52nd Regiment hurried forward and 
re-established the fight at the cost of bloody sacrifices. 
Its 1st Battalion lost every one of its officers, the 
colours passed from hand to hand as its bearers were 
successively shot down, and the commander of the 9th 
Brigade, General von Db'ring, fell mortally wounded. 
General von Stlilpnagel rode up into the foremost line 
of fire, inspiriting the men with brave words, while 
General von Schwerin collected the remnants of troops 
bereft of their leaders, and, reinforced by a detach- 
ment of the Xth Corps from Nove'ant, carried the height 
in front of Flavigny, whence the French presently 

On the assumption that the French were already pro- 
secuting the retreat, the 6th Division had been ordered 
forward towards Etain by way of Mars la Tour, to bar 
the enemy also from the northern road to Verdun. When 
it reached the height of Tronville, whence could be seen 
how things really stood, the brigades wheeled to the 
right in the direction of Vionville and Flavigny. The 
artillery going on in advance, formed a formidable line 
of. batteries, the fire of which prepared the way for a 
farther advance, and by half-past eleven the llth Bri- 
gade had taken possession of Vionville in spite of heavy 
losses. From thence, and from the south, in conjunc- 
tion with the 10th Brigade, an attack was then directed 
on Flavigny, which had been set on fire by shell-fire. 


The different detachments were hereabouts very much 
mixed, but by skilfully taking advantage of every fold 
of the ground, the individual regimental officers suc- 
ceeded in getting their men steadily forward, in spite 
of the heavy fire of the hostile infantry and artillery. 
Flavigny was taken by assault, and one cannon and a 
number of prisoners fell into the hands of the brave 

Vionville, Flavigny and the northern end of the 
forest of St. Arnould constituted the points of support 
of the Prussian front now facing to the east ; but this 
front was more than four miles long, and the whole 
infantry and artillery were engaged up to the hilt all 
in one line. The second line consisted only of the 5th 
and 6th Cavalry Divisions and half of the 37th Brigade 
near Tronville. 

The position of the French was one of great advan- 
tage. Their left flank leaned on Metz, their right was 
protected by formidable batteries on the old Roman road 
and a strong force of cavalry ; and so they could await 
with confidence a frontal attack on the part of a 
venturesome enemy. 

The possibility of continuing the march to Verdun 
on this day, under the protection of a strong covering 
rearguard, was, no doubt, out of the question. Sup- 
posing the Marshal earnest above everything to effect 
his retreat, he could do so only by fighting hard for 
his right of way, and by so freeing himself from the 
enemy blocking his path. 

It is not easy to discern, from a purely military 
standpoint, why this course was not resorted to. 
There was the full certainty that only part, and 
probably only a small part, of the German host could 
as yet have reached the left side of the Moselle, and 
when in the course of the day the Divisions detained 
about Metz arrived, the French had greatly the 
superiority in strength. But it seems that the Mar- 
shal's chief solicitude was lest he should be forced to 


relinquish his touch of Metz ; and he gave almost his 
whole attention to his left wing. Constantly sending 
fresh reinforcements thither, he massed the whole 
Guard Corps and part of the Vlth Corps opposite the 
Bois des Ognons, whence an attack was exceptionally 
improbable. One is tempted to assume that political 
reasons alone thus early actuated Bazaine in his 
resolve to cling to Metz. 

Meanwhile the Prussians slowly but surely made 
their way beyond Flavigny and Vionville, and, assisted 
by a heavy fire from the artillery, compelled the right 
wing of the Ilnd French Corps to retire on Rezonville, 
a movement which became a flight when the French 
Generals Bataille and Valaze were killed. 

To regain the lost ground the French Guard Cuiras- 
sier Regiment threw itself resolutely on the pursuers. 
But its attack was cut short by the rapid fire of two com- 
panies of the 52nd Regiment drawn up in line, which 
reserved their fire till the enemy were within 250 
paces. The horsemen sweeping right and left rushed 
into the fire of more infantry behind ; 243 horses 
strewed the field, and only the remnants of the regi- 
ment wheeled about in swift flight, pursued by two 
Hussar regiments which had dashed forward from 
Flavigny. A French battery in front of Rezonville 
had hardly time to discharge a few shots before it was 
surrounded. For want of teams the Prussians could 
not, indeed, carry off the captured guns ; but the 
Commander-in-Chief of the French army, who had 
himself brought them up, was for several minutes in 
imminent danger of being taken prisoner. 

The 6th Prussian Cavalry Division had also been 
ordered to the front. After passing through the line 
of artillery and deploying as well as the limited space 
permitted, it found itself face to face with fresh and 
completely formed troops. Marshal Bazaine had taken 
the precaution of substituting for the routed bodies 
of the Ilnd Corps the Guard Grenadier Division, 


which, he had at last prevailed on himself to bring up 
from his unengaged left wing, but not without filling 
the vacancy by a Division of the Illrd Corps. Thus 
the Prussian cavalry was received with such an over- 
whelming musketry and artillery fire that it halted, 
and deliberately retired, its retreat being covered by 
two squadrons of Uhlans, which time after time showed 
a front against the enemy. The cavalry had not 
actually engaged, but its advance had gained time and 
opportunity for the artillery to move further forward 
in one line from the spur of the wood to Flavigny. 

It was now two o'clock. So far General von Alvens- 
leben had deceived the enemy with regard to the 
slenderness of his force by acting incessantly on the 
offensive. But the battle was now at a standstill, the 
battalions were visibly thinned, their strength was 
sapped by four hours of hard fighting, and the ammu- 
nition of the infantry was almost exhausted. Not a 
battalion, not a battery remained in reserve behind the 
fighting line standing there in the fire. It was now 
required to conserve the success won with so much 
blood by acting thenceforth on the defensive. 

The left wing was in especial danger, being under 
the fire of the powerful artillery deployed on the 
Roman road. Their greatly superior numbers enabled 
the French to extend farther and farther to the right, 
threatening thus completely to envelop the Prussian 

Marshal Canrobert, in the French centre, had dis- 
cerned the right moment to press forward against 
Vionville with all his might. At this critical instant 
there was on the German side only a small detachment 
of the 5th Cavalry Division available to check this effort. 
Two brigades had necessarily been sent to strengthen the 
left flank, and of the 12th Brigade remaining in rear of 
~ T ionville two squadrons had been detached to the 
jronville copses. The .two regiments ordered to 
mdertake the task of charging the advancing enemy 


the Magdeburg Cuirassiers and the Altmark Uhlans- 
were consequently each but three squadrons strong, in 
all 800 horses. 

General von Bredow, commanding the 12th Cavalry 
Brigade, first traversed in column the shallow hollow 
sinking down from Vionville, then wheeled to the right 
and mounted the slope to the eastward, both his 
regiments on one front. Received immediately with 
heavy artillery and infantry fire, he threw himself on the 
hostile ranks. The first line is ridden over, the line of 
guns is broken through, gunners and teams are put to the 
sword. The second French line is powerless to resist 
this vigorous onslaught, and even the more distant 
batteries limbered up to drive away. 

But the rapture of victory and the impetuosity of the 
charge carried the handful of troopers too far, and after 
a gallop of 3000 paces they found themselves sur- 
rounded by the French cavalry, which attacked them 
from all sides. There was no scope for a second charge, 
and so after several encounters with the French horse 
the brigade was forced to cut its way back through the 
French infantry, whose bullets accompanied it home. 
Only one-half of the command returned to Flavigny, 
where it was re-organized into two squadrons. The 
devoted self-sacrifice of the two heroic regiments effected 
the result, that the French entirely discontinued their 
attack on Vionville. 

At three o'clock four of their Divisions advanced 
towards the Tronville copses. Barby's cavalry brigade 
(llth), watching the western verge, had to retire before 
the enemy's fire, and the German infantry occupying the 
wood also had to yield to a strength so superior ; the 
batteries which were in action between Vionville and 
the copses were assailed in rear from the west through 
the glades of the copses, and were likewise forced to 
retire. But not until the lapse of an hour did the 
French succeed in overcoming the obstinate resistance 
of four staunch battalions. 

At the subsequent roll-call near Tronville, it was 


ascertained that the 24th Regiment had lost 1000 
men and 52 officers, and that the 2nd Battalion of the 
20th Regiment had lost all its officers. The 37th 
demi-Brigade, which of its own accord had been 
fighting valiantly in support since noon, took pos- 
session of the village of Tronville and prepared it 
for an obstinate defence. 

It was not till after three that the Illrd Corps, 
which had been fighting for seven l hours almost single- 
handed, received effective assistance. 

While the Xth Corps was on the march through 
Thiaucourt, its advanced guard heard cannon-fire from 
the direction of Vionvifle. The Corps Commander, 
General von Voigts-Rhetz, immediately set out for the 
battle-field, and having personally ascertained how 
matters stood, he sent back the requisite orders to his 
approaching troops. 

In this instance again it was the artillery which, 
hurrying on in advance, masterfully struck into the 
conflict. Its fire, in conjunction with that of the 
promptly further advancing batteries of the Illrd Corps, 
checked the French rush made on both sides of the 
Tronville copses simultaneously. At half-past three 
the head of von Woyna's Brigade (39th) fell on, drove 
the enemy back into the wood, and finally, supported 
by Diringshofen's Brigade (40th), took possession of 
its northern outskirts. 

The right wing of the Illrd Corps had also received 
some reinforcement. 

The 32nd Brigade of the VHIth Corps, on being 
called upon to assist the 5th Division, fatigued though 
it was by a long march, immediately advanced from 
the Moselle by Any. The llth Regiment joined it, 
and three batteries were sent ahead to commence 
operations ; this force emerged at five o'clock from the 
forest of St. Arnould. It at once made an assault on 
the heights in front of Maison Blanche, but, though it 

1 Five; viz. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 


made three strenuous efforts in succession, failed to 
carry them, since Marshal Bazaine had greatly 
strengthened his position in front of Rezonville. Then 
the French, in their turn, took the offensive there ; but 
were equally unable to establish themselves firmly on 
the heights, swept as they were by the well-directed 
fire of the Prussian artillery ; and they had to with- 
draw from the attempt. Petty struggles for this 
position were renewed later on both sides, but those 
spurts came to nothing because of the fire of the 
respective artillery ; and the fighting on the German 
right became in the main stationary. 

That on the German left two French Divisions had 
retired before a few newly-arrived battalions, and had 
evacuated the Tronville copses, can only be explained 
by a report having reached Bazaine's head-quarters 
that the enemy was coming in upon his right flank in 
the vicinity of Hannonville. 

The enemy referred to was WedelTs Brigade (38th), 
which, while on the march in the direction of Etain 
according to its original orders, had received counter- 
instructions while halted at St. Hilaire at noon, to 
hurry to the field of battle. General von Schwartz- 
koppen (commanding 19th Infantry Division) decided 
to march by the highway to Mars la Tour, in the hope 
of falling on the enemy either in flank or in rear. But 
the French meanwhile had extended their reinforced 
ght wing to the sunken valley west of Bruville, where 

ee Divisions of their cavalry were massed in position. 

E\hus when General von Wedell advanced to the 
attack on both sides of Tronville, which the French 
themselves had fired, his brigade only five battalions 
strong found itself in face of the long deployed front of 
the 4th French Corps. The two Westphalian regi- 
ments advanced steadily under the storm of shell and 
mitrailleuse fire till they suddenly reached the edge 
of a deep ravine hitherto unseen. This, however, 
they soon traversed, and were climbing the farther 
ascent, when theyx were met by a murderous shower 


of bullets from the French infantry which hemmed 
them in closely on every side. After almost every 
one of the commanders and regimental officers had 
fallen, the wreck of the battalions fell back into the 
ravine ; 300 men were taken prisoners, having no 
strength left to ascend the steep southern rise after 
the fatigue of a twenty-eight miles march/ The re- 
mainder rallied at Tronville under the shot-torn colours 
which Colonel von Cranach, the only officer who still had 
a horse under .him, had brought back in his own hand. 
Seventy-two officers and 2542 men were missing 
out of 95 officers and 4546 men more than half. 
The French folio wed up their success, but were checked 
on the right by the headlong charge of the 1st Guard 
Dragoons, which cost that regiment 250 horses and nearly 
all its officers ; and on the left by the 4th squadron of the 
2nd Guard Dragoons, which attacked three times its 
strength of Chasseurs d'Afrique. 

But there now imminently threatened the charge of 
a great mass of French cavalry, which disclosed itself 
on the open plateau of Ville sur Yron. This consisted 
of Legrand's Division and de France's Guard Brigade in 
four compact echelons, overlapping each other to the 
right. On the German side, all the still disposable 
cavalry joined Barby's brigade, and the body thus made 
up, consisting only of sixteen squadrons, was formed for 
action in two lines west of Mars la Tour. Farther in 
advance stood the 13th Dragoons, halted to receive the 
Guard-squadron on its return from its recent charge. 
The 13th galloped forward to meet the charge of 
Montaigu's Hussar Brigade, which constituted the first 
line of the French cavalry mass, and which broke 
through the (over-wide) intervals of the Prussian 
squadrons. But General von Barby promptly appeared 
with the other regiments on the upland of Ville sur 
Yron, where at a quarter to seven the cavalry masses 
came into collision. 

A mighty cloud of dust concealed the varying phases 
of the hand-to-hand encounter of 5000 horsemen which 


gradually declared itself in favour of the Prussians. 
General Montaigu, severely wounded, was taken 
prisoner, and General Legrand fell while leading his 
Dragoons to the assistance of the Hussars. 

De France's Brigade allowed the enemy to approach 
within 150 paces, and then its Lancer regiment rushed 
impetuously upon the Hanoverian Uhlans ; but the 
latter outflanked it, and received unexpected assistance 
from the 5th squadron of the 2nd Guard Dragoons, 
which, returning from a reconnaissance, plunged for- 
ward over fences and ditches and fell upon the enemy 
in flank, while the Westphalian Cuirassiers at the same 
time broke his front. The Chasseurs d'Afrique strove 
in vain to hinder the enveloping tactics of the Hano- 
verian Dragoons ; the clouds of dust drifted farther and 
farther northward, and the whole mass of French horse 
drew away towards the wooded slopes of Bruville, 
behind which there were still five regiments of Clerem- 
bault's Cavalry Division. Clerembault permitted one 
of his brigades to cross the valley, but the fleeing 
Hussars and some misunderstood signals threw it into 
confusion. It was borne back, and not until the French 
infantry confronted the Prussian pursuers in the cover- 
ing valley did the latter desist from the pursuit. 

The Prussian regiments quietly re-formed and then 
withdrew at a walk to Mars la Tour, followed at a great 
distance by part of Clerembault' s Division. 

This, the greatest cavahy combat of the war, had the 
effect of making the French right wing give up all fur- 
ther attempts to act on the offensive. The Germans 
mourned the loss of many superior officers, who always, 
at the head of their men, had set them a glorious 

Prince Frederick Charles had hastened to the field of 
battle. The day was nearly at an end, darkness ap- 
proaching, and the battle won. The Prussians in the 
evening stood on the ground which in the morning had 
been occupied by the French. Though General von 
Alvensleben had in the first instance been under the 


impression that he would have only the French rear- 
guard to deal with, he did not hesitate for a moment to 
become the assailant when he found the entire French 
Army before him. With his single Corps he main- 
tained the fight till the afternoon, and drove back the 
enemy from Flavigny to Rezonville, a distance of more 
than two miles. This was one of the most brilliant 
achievements of all the war. 

Thanks to the valuable assistance of the Xth Corps it 
was possible to carry on the battle through the after- 
noon on the defensive, but only by most resolute 
counter-attacks by the cavalry, and by the unflinching 
tenacity of the artillery. 

It was clearly most unadvisable to challenge by re- 
newed attacks an enemy who still outnumbered the 
Germans ; which action, since no further reinforcements 
could be hoped for, could not but jeopardize the success 
so dearly bought. The troops were exhausted, most 
of their ammunition was spent, the horses had been 
under the saddle for fifteen hours without fodder ; some 
of the batteries could only move at a walk, and the 
nearest Army Corps on the left bank of the Moselle, 
the Xllth, 1 was distant more than a day's march. 

Notwithstanding all these considerations, an order 
from Prince Frederick Charles's Head-quarter issued 
at seven o'clock, commanded a renewed and general 
attack on the enemy's positions. The Xth Corps was 
quite incapable of answering this demand ; and only 
part of the artillery went forward on the right followed 
by some infantry. The batteries indeed reached the 
much-disputed plateau south of Rezonville, but only 
to be exposed on two sides to the fire of infantry 

1 The Hessian Division of the IXth Corps was on the left bank, 
much nearer the field than the Xllth so near indeed that portions 
of it were actually engaged ; and its other Division crossed the river 
in the night. The Staff History assigns the proximity of the IXth 
Corps as a leading reason for the action of Prince Frederick Charles 
which Moltke denounces. Both the Vllth and VHIth Corps (the 
latter of which had a brigade engaged in the battle) were more 
immediately available than the distant Xllth. 


and artillery. Fifty-four guns of the French Guard 
alone, in position on the farther side of the valley, were 
taking them in flank. The Prussian batteries were 
compelled to retreat to their previous position, but 
two brigades of the 6th Cavalry Division still pressed 
forward. Scarcely able to discern in the increasing 
darkness where lay their proper line of attack, they 
came under very sharp infantry fire, and withdrew with 
great loss. 

Fighting did not entirely cease until ten o'clock. On 
either side 16,000 men had fallen. On either side pur- 
suit was out of the question. The Germans reaped the 
fruits of this victory solely in its results. The troops, 
worn out by a twelve hours' struggle, bivouacked on 
the victorious but bloody field, immediately opposite 
the French position. 

Those Corps of the Ilnd Army which had not taken 
part in the battle, were on that day on march towards 
the Meuse. The advanced guard of the IVth Corps on 
the left wing was heading towards Toul. This fortress, 
commanding a railway-line of importance to the further 
progress of the German Army, was reported to be but 
feebly held, and it was resolved to attempt its capture 
by a coup de main. But the bombardment of it by 
field-artillery proved quite ineffective. Bastions of 
masonry and wide wet ditches made a storm impos- 
sible. An attempt to batter down the gates by shot 
and thus gain an entrance proved a failure. Finally 
the undertaking was given up, and not without some 
loss on the part of the Germans. 

At the Royal Head-quarter in Pont a Mousson it 
had become known by about noon on the 16th that the 
Illrd Corps was engaged in serious conflict, and that 
the Xth and IXth were hastening up to its support. 
The far-reaching consequences of this information were 
recognized at once. 

The French were arrested in their withdrawal from 
Metz, but it was to be presumed as a certainty that 


they would again make strenuous efforts to force open 
their interrupted line of retreat. The Xllth Corps 
was therefore ordered to set out for Mars la Tour as 
early as three o'clock next morning; the Vllth and 
VHIth Corps to stand in readiness at Corny and Any. 
The bridging operations were to be pushed with the 
utmost vigour during the night. The Head-quarter of 
the Ilnd Army sent from Gorze the order to the Guard 
Corps to make a forced march to Mars la Tour, and 
there take up a position on the left of the Xllth Corps. 
The execution of these orders was facilitated by the 
foresight of the Commanders, who had in the course of 
the day received news of the battle which was being 
fought. Prince George of Saxony at once placed his 
Division on the march to Thiaucourt, and the Prince of 
Wiirtemberg assembled the Infantry of the Guard in 
its cantonments farther northward in readiness for an 
early march. 

August 11th. On this morning, at sunrise, the 
French outposts were observed still occupying the 
sweep of front from Bruville to Rezonville. Behind 
them were noticed a stir and much noise of signalling, 
Avhich might be the indications equally of an attack 
or of a retirement. 

The King arrived from Pont a Mousson at Flavigny 
as early as six o'clock. The reports sent in to head- 
quarters until noon by the reconnoitring cavalry were 
somewhat contradictory ; they left it uncertain whether 
the French were concentrating towards Metz, or were 
pursuing their retreat by the two still open roads 
through Etain and Briey. Preparations for the 
offensive were nowhere observed. By one o'clock, 
after a skirmish on the way, the head of the Vllth 
Corps had reached the northern skirt of the Bois 
des Ognons, over against which the French sub- 
sequently abandoned Gravelotte. The VHIth Corps 
stood ready at Gorze, the IXth, Illrd, and Xth re- 
mained in their positions, the Xllth and the Guard 
Corps were on the march. Seven Corps and three 


Cavalry Divisions could be counted on for the following 
day ; for to-day all attacks were forbidden. 

In making the dispositions for the impending battle 
of August 18th, two possible contingencies were fore- 
seen and had to be provided for. To meet both the 
left wing was to be sent forward in a northerly 
direction through Doncourt towards the nearest of the 
routes still open for the retreat of the French. If the 
enemy were already retiring, he was to be at once 
attacked and detained while the right wing was 
hurrying up in support. 

In case the enemy should be remaining about Metz, 
the German left wing was to swing eastwards and out- 
flank his farthest north position, while the right was to 
hold his left closely engaged until this movement was 
accomplished. The battle, under these circumstances, 
probably could not be decided until late in the day, 
owing to the wide-sweeping movement of a portion of 
the army. A peculiar feature of the situation was 
that both parties had to fight with inverted front, and 
sacrifice for the time their respective lines of com- 
munication. The consequences of victory or defeat 
would thus be greatly enhanced or aggravated, but the 
French had the advantage of having as their base a 
large place of arms with its resources. 

A decision having been arrived at, by two o'clock 
orders were published at Flavigny for an advance by 
echelons from the left wing. The guidance of indi- 
vidual Corps during the battle was to turn on the 
reports which should be brought in. The King then 
returned to Pont a Mousson. 

As early as nine o'clock in the morning the Saxon 
Cavalry Division had reached the Etain road to 
the west of Conflans, and had reported no enemy 
visible except a few stragglers. Still, this only proved 
that on the 17th the French had not yet taken up 
their retreat. 

In rear of its cavalry the Xllth Corps arrived 


during the day in the vicinity of Mars la Tour and 
Puxieux, and left of it the Guard bivouacked in the 
evening at Hannonville sur Yron, in accordance with 
order. The Ilnd Corps, which ever since it left the 
railway had followed close on the Ilnd Army, reached 
Pont a Mousson, and was ordered to march forward by 
Buxieres at four next morning. 

(August 18th.) 

Marshal Bazaine had not thought it advisable to 
prosecute the march to Verdun now that the Germans 
were so close on the flank of such a movement. He 
preferred to concentrate his forces near Metz, in a 
position which he rightly considered as almost 

Such an one was afforded him by the range of 
heights stretching along the western verge of the valley 
of Chatel. Their face looking toward the enemy sloped 
away like a glacis, while the short and steep decline in 
the rear afforded cover for the reserves. Along the flat 
crown of the heights from Roncourt to Rozerieulles, a dis- 
tance of about seven miles, were posted the Vlth, IVth, 
Illrd, and Ilnd Corps in succession from the north ; 
for which distance there were available from eight to 
ten men to the pace (Schritt). A brigade of the 
Vth Corps stood near Ste. Ruffine in the valley of 
the Moselle ; the cavalry was in rear of both flanks. 
In front of the Ilnd and Illrd Corps shelter-trenches 
had been thrown up, battery emplacements and 
covered ways of communication constructed, and the 
farmsteads lying; out to the front converted into little 

J O . 

forts. To approach this (left) wing from the west it 
was necessary to cross the deep ravine of the Mance. 
The Vlth Corps on the other hand was wholly without 


an engineer park ; and it is indicative of the general 
ill-equipment of the French that, for the transport of 
the wounded to the rear, in spite of the enormous 
trains, provision waggons had to be unloaded and their 
contents burnt. This Corps was therefore unable to 
construct fortified flank defences toward the forest of 
Jaumont, such as would have given to the right wing 
the character of formidable strength. This would un- 
doubtedly have been the place for the Guard, but in 
his apprehension of an attack from the south the 
Marshal held that Corps in reserve at Plappeville. 

The King returned to Flavigny at six o'clock on the 
morning of the 18th. All commanding officers were in- 
structed to send their reports thither, and officers of the 
General Staff belonging to the Royal Head-quarter 
were besides sent out in different directions to report 
information as to the progress of the engagement. 

The following were the initial dispositions. The 
Vllth Army Corps, which was to form the pivot for 
the eventual wheel to the right, occupied the Bois de 
Vaux and Bois des Ognons ; the Vlllth, which the 
King had reserved at his own disposition, stood halted 
near Rezonville ready to march to the north or to the 
east, as might be required. The IXth Corps, on its 
left, advanced towards St. Marcel, while the Illrd and 
Xth followed in second line. The Guard and Xllth 
Corps moved in a northerly direction. 

In consequence of the Head-quarter of the Ilnd 
Army having ordered the Xllth Corps, although it 
stood on the right, 1 to form the extreme left, a serious 
delay occurred from the crossing of the respective line- 
of march. The Saxon troops had not entirely passed 
through Mars-la-Tour until nine o'clock, and till then 
the Guard Corps could not follow. 

1 The Xllth Corps never stcod on the right. It occupied its 
assigned position on the extreme left, and the delay arose from the 
Guard Corps having occupied a position other than that designed for 
it, and having been allowed to remain there. 


Meanwhile the advanced guard of the Xllth Corps 
had already reached Jarny, and pursued its march as 
far as Briey without encountering the enemy. 

Before information to this effect came in, the con- 
viction had been reached in the Royal Head-quarter 
that at all events the main forces of the enemy still 
remained before Metz ; there was, however, a difference 
of opinion as to the extension of the French front, which 
it was assumed did not reach beyond Montigny. The 
Head-quarter of the Ilnd Army was therefore instructed 
not to extend further northward, but to attack the 
enemy's right wing with the IXth Corps, and push in 
the direction of Batilly with the Guard, and the Xllth 
Corps. The 1st Army was not to begin its frontal 
attack until the Ilnd should be ready to co-operate. 

In obedience to those instructions Prince Frederick 
Charles ordered the IXth Corps to march towards Verne- 
ville, and, in case the French right wing should be found 
there, to begin the action by promptly bringing a large 
force of artillery into action. The Guard was to con- 
tinue its advance by way of Doncourt to support the 
IXth as soon as possible. The Xllth was to remain 
at Jarny for the present. 

A little later fresh reports came in, which indicated 
that the IXth Corps, should it proceed in the manner 
ordered, would not strike the enemy on his flank, but 
full on his front. The Prince, in the discretion of his 
high position, therefore determined that the Corps 
should postpone its attack till the Guard Corps should 
have been brought to bear upon Amanvillers. At the 
same time the Xllth Corps was to push on to Ste. 
Marie aux Chenes. 

But while these orders were being expedited, there 
was heard from Verneville at twelve o'clock the roar of 
the first cannon shots. 

The two Corps of the left wing had, moreover, of their 
own accord, taken an easterly direction, and the Illrd 
Corps moved up in rear of the IXth to the Caul re farm. 

E 2 


General von Manstein, the commander of the IXth 
Corps, had observed from Verneville a French camp 
at Amanvillers, which apparently lay in negligent 
repose. From his standpoint it could not be discerned 
that to his left about St. Privat great masses of troops 
were in position. Thinking that in this camp he had 
the enemy's right wing before him, he determined to 
act on his original orders and at once take the foe by 
surprise. Eight of his batteries at once opened fire. 

But the French troops showed great alacrity in 
moving up into their prepared positions. The isolated 
initiative of the single Corps naturally drew upon it not 
only the fire of the troops opposite to it, but also that 
of the hostile Corps to right and left. 

In the effort to find a location affording something 
of shelter, the Prussian batteries had taken position in 
a fold of the slope looking towards Amanvillers, and 
facing to the south-east, where, however, they were ex- 
posed from the north, on the flank and even in the 
rear, to the fire of the enemy's artillery, as well as to 
the massed fire of his infantry. 

To meet this, it was necessary to send forward the 
infantry battalions nearest at hand. They took 
possession of the eastern point of the Bois de la Cusse 
on the left, and on the right seized the farmhouses of 
L'Envie and Chantrenne, and forced their way into the 
Bois des Genivaux. Thus the front of the 18th Division 
in action extended along a distance of 4000 paces. 

It had to endure very heavy loss from the circum- 
stance that the French with their long-range Chasse- 
pot rifles could afford to keep out of the effective range 
of the needle-gun ; the artillery suffered exceptionally 
severely. One of the batteries had already lost forty- 
five gunners when the enemy's sharpshooters swarmed 
forward on it. Infantry protection was not available 
at the moment, and two guns were lost. By two 
o'clock the batteries still remaining in position were 
almost unserviceable, and no relief arrived till the 


Hessian Division reached Habonville, and brought 
up on the left of the distressed batteries, five 
batteries on either side of the railway, which diverted 
on themselves to a considerable extent the concentrated 
fire of the enemy. The batteries of the 18th Division, 
which had suffered most, could now be withdrawn in 
succession, but even in the act of retreat they had to 
drive off the pursuers by grapeshot. 

The artillery of the Illrd Corps and the Guard also 
came to the aid of the IXth, and those of the damaged 
guns of the last, which were still at all fit for 
service, were at once brought up again into the fighting 
line. Thus there was formed in front of Verne ville and 
as far as St. Ail an artillery front of 130 pieces, whose 
fire now opposed the enemy's artillery with conspicuous 
success. Now that the Illrd Corps was approaching 
Verneville and the 3rd Guard Brigade had reached 
Habonville, it was no longer to be apprehended that 
the French would succeed in piercing this line. 

The main body of the Guard Corps reached St. Ail 
so early as two o'clock. General von Pape (command- 
ing 1st Guard Division) at once recognized that by 
wheeling to the east he would not only not strike the 
enemy on that right flank of his which had to be 
turned, but would expose his own left flank to the 
hostile force occupying Ste. Marie aux Chenes. This 
town-like village, in itself extremely strong, and also 
strongly flanked by the main stronghold of the enemy's 
right, it was necessary to gain before making any 
further advance ; but, in obedience to superior orders, 
the General had to await the co-operation of the Saxon 

The foremost troops of this Corps had already 
reached the vicinity of Batilly, but it was still distant 
from Ste. Marie more than two miles, so that its 
batteries could not be pushed forward into position 
west of that place until three o'clock. But as the 
Guard had sent most of its own artillery to the support 


of the IXth Corps the Saxon batteries were of essential 
service. Ten batteries now directed their fire upon 
Ste. Marie, and by the time its effect was discernible, 
the 47th Brigade of the Xllth Corps came up. At 
half-past three the Prussian and Saxon battalions 
hurled themselves on the town from the south, the west, 
and the north, with loud hurrahs and without return- 
ing the fire of the enemy. The French were driven 
from it with the loss of several hundred men taken 

The Saxons eagerly followed up, and north of Ste. 
Marie there ensued a lively infantry fight, which 
masked the fire of the artillery. The brigade having 
obeyed the order to retire, the batteries immediately 
re-opened fire, and the repeated efforts of the French 
to recover the lost position were frustrated. 

Soon afterwards the IXth Corps succeeded in storming 
and firmly holding the farm of Champenois, but all 
further attempts by isolated battalions or companies to 
force their way forward against the broad and compact 
front of the French were then manifestly futile. Thus, 
towards five o'clock, the infantry fire altogether died 
out, and the artillery fired only an occasional shot. 
The exhaustion of both sides caused for the time an 
almost total suspension of hostilities in this part of the 

The Royal Head-quarter had firmly maintained the 
resolution, that the 1st Army should not commit itself 
to a serious offensive until the Ilnd had grappled with 
the enemy. But when the day was half-spent and 
when about noon heavy firing was heard from Vionville, 1 
it was to be assumed that the moment for action had 
arrived ; still, for the present, permission was only given 
to the 1st Army to engage in the artillery preparation. 

Sixteen batteries of the Vllth and VHIth Corps 
accordingly drew up right and left of Gravelotte on 
the highway passing through that village. Their fire 
1 Vionville in text seems a slip of the pen for Verneville. 


was ineffective, because they were too far distant from 
the enemy ; and furthermore they suffered from the 
fire of the French tirailleurs nestling in the opposite 
woods. It became necessary to drive those out, and 
thus there occurred here a premature infantry fight. 
The French were cleared out from the eastern declivity 
of the Mance ravine, and the artillery line, now increased 
to twenty batteries, was able to advance closer up to 
the western brink and now direct the strength of its fire 
against the main position of the enemy. 

But the battalions of the 29th Brigade pushed the 
attack further. They pressed on leftward into the 
southern section of the Bois des Genivaux, but were 
unable to obtain touch of the IXth Corps in possession 
of the northern portion of the forest, since the French 
firmly held the intervening ground. On the right 
sundry detachments took possession of the quarries and 
gravel-pits near St. Hubert. 

The artillery meanwhile had gained the mastery over 
that of the enemy, several of whose batteries were 
silenced, and others prevented from coming into posi- 
tion. The French fire was in part directed on the 
farm-steading of St. Hubert, to the vicinity of which 
portions of the 30th Brigade had spurted forward. 
These formidable premises close under the face of the 
enemy's main position, and in spite of a very heavy fire 
therefrom, were stormed at three o'clock. The 31st 
Brigade also now promptly crossed the ravine, but a 
further advance against the farms of Moscou and 
Leipzig, over a bare stretch of ground encompassed by 
the enemy on its wooded edges, did not succeed, and 
resulted only in heavy loss. On the extreme right, the 
26th Brigade had taken possession of Jussy, thus 
securing the connection of the German army towards 
Metz, but found it impossible to cross the deep valley 
of Rozerieulles. 

Everywhere the advanced positions of the French had 
been driven in, the farms in their front were blazing, their 


artillery appeared to be crushed, and, as the situation 
was viewed from Gravelotte, there needed nothing but 
to follow up the success. General von Steinmetz 
therefore, at four o'clock, ordered a renewed attack 
with fresh forces. 

While the Vllth Corps occupied the border of the 
woodland, four batteries, backed by the 1st Cavalry 
Division, moved at a trot through the ravine, about 
1500 paces across, which lies east of Gravelotte. But 
as soon as the head of the deep column came in sight of 
the enemy he redoubled his rifle and artillery fire, which 
had till now been kept under. One battery lost in a 
twinkling the men serving four of its guns, and it was 
only by an extreme effort that it was withdrawn to the 
border of the wood ; another never succeeded in deploy- 
ing. On the other hand, Hasse's battery remained in 
action, in spite of the loss of seventy-five horses, and 
Gniigge's battery stood fast near St. Hubert, regardless 
of the return fire from the quarries. 

The foremost regiment of cavalry bent to the right 
at a gallop on leaving the hollow way, and advanced 
towards Point du Jour, but the enemy, being completely 
under cover, offered no mark for an attack. Clearly 
there was no field here for the utilization of this arm, 
so the regiments withdrew across the Mance ravine 
under a heavy fire from all sides. 

The result of the ill-success of this attempt was that 
swarms of French tirailleurs now poured down from 
Point du Jour, and drove the Prussian detachments 
still remaining on the bare plateau backward to the 
skirts of the wood. Chassepot bullets even reached 
the position of the Royal Commander-in-Chief and his 
personal staff, and Prince Adalbert's horse was shot 
under him. 

Fresh forces pushed forward and drove the enemy 
back into his main position. St. Hubert remained in 
German possession, though the gunners of the battery 
in post there were equal to the service of but one gun. 


But all partial attempts to advance over the exposed 
plateau proved a failure ; and here also at about five 
o'clock in the afternoon there occurred a lull in the 
fighting, during which the weary troops on both sides 
reorganized themselves and took breath. 

About this time King William and his staff rode for- 
ward to the swell south of Malmaison. But from there 
nothing could be discerned of the situation of the left 
flank of the army, at a distance as it was of more than 
four miles. The French artillery had almost entirely 
ceased along the whole front from La Folie to Point du 
Jour ; but to the northward the thunder of the cannon 
fire roared louder than ever. It was six o'clock, the 
day was nearly at an end, and it was imperative that 
the decisive result should be precipitated. The King 
therefore ordered the 1st Army to make a renewed ad- 
vance in support of which he placed the Ilnd Corps, 
just arrived after a long march, at the disposal of 
General von Steinmetz. 

The battalions of the Vllth Corps which were still 
serviceable, except five which remained in reserve, 
were again sent across the Mance ravine, and in support 
of them the battalions holding the Bois de Vaux ad- 
vanced in the direction of Point du Jour and the quarries. 

The Ilnd Corps of the French Army thus assailed 
was now reinforced by the Guard Voltigeur Division. 
All the reserves were hurried up into the foremost line. 
The artillery burst into redoubled fire, and a crushing 
musketry fire was concentrated on the advancing 
enemy. Then the French themselves took the offensive 
with a huge swarm of tirailleurs, which hurled back- 
ward upon the wood-fringes the small leaderless bodies 
to German troops that had been lying in the shallow 
folds of the plateau. 

There, however, the sally found its limit ; and there 
still remained at disposition a fresh Army Corps in full 

The Ilnd Corps, the last to come up by rail into the 


theatre of war, had hitherto followed in the wake of 
the army by forced inarches, and had not been able to 
take part in any engagement. It had started from 
Pont a Mousson at 2 a.m. and, taking the road by 
Buxieres and Rezonville, arrived south of Gravelotte to- 
wards evening. The Pomeranians expressed their eager 
desire to get at the enemy before the day should end. 

It would have been more proper if the Chief of the 
General Staff of the Army, who was personally on the 
spot at the time, had not permitted this movement at 
so late an hour of the evening. A body of troops, 
still completely intact, might have been of great value 
the next day ; but it could hardly be expected on this 
evening to effect a decisive reversal of the situation. 

Hurrying through Gravelotte, the foremost battalions 
of the Ilnd Corps pushed forward to the quarries, and 
up to within a few hundred paces of Point du Jour ; 
but those following soon found themselves involved in 
the throng of the broken detachments remaining under 
fire south of St. Hubert, and the further advance towards 
Moscou was arrested. In the growing darkness friend 
became indistinguishable from foe, and the firing had 
to be broken off. Not, however, until ten o'clock did 
it entirely cease. 

It was, to be sure, an advantage that the fresh troops 
of the Ilnd Corps were available to hold the foremost 
fighting-line for the night, behind which the inter- 
mixed detachments of the Vllth and VHIth Corps were 
enabled to reorganize themselves. 

The whole course of the struggle had conclusively 
proved that the French left flank, almost impregnable 
as rKwas by nature and art, could not be forced even 
by the^ most devoted bravery and the greatest sacrifices. 
Both sides were now facing each other in threatening 
proximity, and both in attitude to renew the battle on 
the following morning. The result of the day turned 
on the events evolving themselves on the opposite 


The Prince of Wiirtemberg, 1 then in St. Ail, had 
judged at a quarter-past five that the moment was 
come for an attack on the French right wing ; but that 
wing extended considerably further north than the 
front of the Guard Corps reached ; further, indeed, 
than the French Commander-in-Chief himself was 
aware. The Saxons had, indeed, participated in the 
seizure of Ste. Marie aux Chenes, but after that event 
the Crown Prince 2 deemed it necessary to assemble 
his Corps in front of the Bois d'Auboue, before pro- 
ceeding to attack the enemy in flank. One of his 
brigades had to come up from Jarny, another from 
Ste. Marie ; and, since the Corps had been delayed in 
getting away from Mars la Tour, its direct attack could 
not be expected at the earliest for an hour to come. 

The 4th Infantry Brigade of the Guard Corps, in 
accordance with orders received, proceeded in the 
prescribed direction of Jerusalem, immediately south of 
St. Privat. As soon as General von Manstein observed 
this movement, he ordered the 3rd Guard Brigade, which 
had been placed at his orders, immediately to advance 
from Habonville direct upon Amanvillers. Between and 
abreast of these two brigades marched Hessian battalions. 
It was not till half-an-hour later that the 1st Guard 
Division leftward of the 2nd moved forward from Ste. 
Marie against St. Privat. This combined offensive 
movement was directed against the broad front of the 
French Vlth and IVth Corps. Their respective strong- 
holds of St. Privat and Amanvillers had as yet hardly 
felt the fire of the German batteries, which had hitherto 
found enough to do in combating the enemy's artillery 
outside the villages. 

In front of the French main position on the crown of 
the height had been prepared on the slope behind the 
hedges and low walls, which rose terrace-wise backward, 
tier on tier of shelter trenches. Behind these defences 

1 Commanding the Guard Corps. 

2 Of Saxony, commanding Xllth Corps. 


towered the village named St. Privat, castle-like with 
its massive houses, which were garrisoned to the very 
roofs. The bare slope stretching in its front was thus 
exposed to an overwhelming storm of projectiles. 

The losses of the Guard Corps marching forward to 
attack a front so formidable were simply enormous. 
In the course of half an hour five battalions lost all, the 
others the greater part of their officers, especially those 
of the higher grades. Thousands of dead and wounded 
marked the track of the battalions pressing valiantly 
forward in spite of their cruel losses. The ranks as 
fast as they were thinned constantly closed up again, 
and their cohesion was not lost even under the leader- 
ship of young lieutenants and ensigns. As they drew 
nearer to the enemy the needle-gun came into full 
utility. The French were driven from all their fore- 
most positions, in which, for the most part, they did 
not await the final struggle. By a quarter-past six 
the battalions had advanced to within 600 to 800 
paces of Amanvillers and St. Privat. The troops, 
weary from the strained exertion, halted under the 
steeper slopes offering some, though small, protection, 
and in the shelter trenches abandoned by the enemy. 
Only four battalions now remained in reserve at Ste. 
Marie, behind the line which now extended to a 
length of 4000 paces. Every charge of the French 
cavalry and of de Cissey's Division had been steadily 
repelled with the aid of twelve batteries of the Guard 
Corps which had hastened up ; but detachments 
commingled under stress of untold losses, had to show 
a resolute front against two French Corps in close 
proximity for more than half-an-hour, before relief 
came to them. 

It was nearly seven o'clock when on the left of the 
Guard, two brigades of Saxon infantry reached the 
scene of strife ; the other two were still assembling in 
the forest of Auboue ; their artillery, however, had for 
a considerable time been maintaining a lively fire on 


When Bazaine received word that the Germans 
were stretching out in constantly increasing extension 
with intent to outflank his right, he at three p.m. 
ordered Picard's Guard Grenadier Division posted at 
Plappeville, to march towards the threatened flank. 
Though the distance to be covered was little more than 
four miles, this all-important reinforcement, having 
diverged to rightward from the direct road through 
the woodland, had not yet arrived ; and Marshal Can- 
robert, who was fending off with all his might the 
converging masses of Prussian assailants, decided to 
concentrate his troops more closely about the strong 
position of St. Privat. The retreat from Roncourt 
would be adequately covered by a small rearguard, since 
the border of the Bois de Jaumont was being held. 

Thus it happened that the Saxons did not find the 
strong resistance at Roncourt which they had expected, 
and after a slight skirmish entered the village together 
with the companies of the extreme left of the Guard ; 
a body of Saxon infantry had previously been 
diverted to the right from the road to Roncourt and 
marched direct on St. Privat to the support of the 

The fire of twenty-four batteries of the two German 
Corps wrought awful havoc there. Many houses were 
set on fire, or crumbled under the concentrated crash 
of the shells. But the French were determined to hold 
to the last extremity this point, decisive as it was of the 
fate of the day. The batteries of their right flank were 
hurried into position between St. Privat and the Bois 
de Jaumont, whence their fire would enfilade the 
further advance of the Saxons on the former place. 
Other batteries went southward to confront the Prus- 
sians, and the simultaneous final rush of the German 
battalions was met by a rattling fire from the French 
riflemen under cover in their lines of shelter trenches. 

All those obstacles were gradually overcome in the 
course of the assault, although again with heavy loss ; 
some detachments halting occasionally for a moment to 


pour in a volley, others again never firing a shot. By 
sundown the attack had swept up to within 300 
paces of St. Privat. Some detachments of the Xth 
Corps, which had reached St. Ail, closed up, and now 
the final onset was made from every side at once. 
The French still defended the burning houses and the 
church with great obstinacy, till, finding themselves 
completely surrounded, they surrendered at about 
eight o'clock. More than 2000 men were here taken 
prisoners, and the wounded were rescued from the 
burning houses. 

The defeated troops of the Vlth French Corps hur- 
riedly retired into the valley of the Moselle, their retreat 
covered by the brigade holding the Bois de Jaumont 
and by the cavalry. Only then did the Guard Grena- 
dier Division make its first appearance, and the Reserve 
Artillery of the French Army deployed east of Aman- 
villers. The German batteries at once took up the 
fight, which lasted till late in the night, and in the 
course of which Amanvillers was burned. 

In that quarter the retirement of the IVth French 
Corps had also already commenced, masked, however, by 
repeated heavy attacks to the front. In the course of 
these there occurred a hand-to-hand encounter with the 
charging battalions of the right wing of the Guard and 
the left of the IXth Corps. Amanvillers, however, 
remained in the hands of the French for the night. 
Not until three o'clock on the morning of the 19th 
did the Illrd French Corps evacuate its position about 
Moscou ; and the Ilnd Corps held its ground until five 
o'clock, engaged in constant sharp frays with the out- 
posts of the Pomeranians, who on its withdrawal took 
possession of the plateaus of Moscou and Point du 

The results attained on the 18th of August had been 
made possible only by the battles of the 14th and 16th. 

The French estimate their losses at 13,000 men. In 
October 173,000 were still in Metz, consequently it is 
certain that the enemy had at disposition in the battle 


of the 18th of August more than 180,000 men. The 
exact strength of the seven 1 German Corps on that 
day amounted to 178,818 men. Thus with the forces 
on either side of approximately equal strength, the 
French had been driven out of a position of almost 
unrivalled natural advantage. 

Naturally the loss of the assailants was much heavier 
than that of the defence; it amounted to 20,584 men, 
among them 899 officers. 

Whereas by the war-establishment the average is 
one officer to every forty men, in this battle one 
officer fell to every twenty-three men ; glorious testi- 
mony to the example set by their leaders to their 
brave men, but also a loss which could not be restored 
during the course of the war. Altogether the six 
battles fought in the first fourteen days of August had 
cost the German army 50,000 men. 2 It was naturally 
impossible immediately to call out at home a sufficient 
levy in substitution for the losses ; but reinforcements 
drawn from the time-expired cadres were already 

First of all that same evening the earliest instalment 
of the trains and the Field-Hospitals had to be brought 
up from the right bank of the Moselle ; and the am- 
munition had to be replenished throughout. In 
Rezonville, thronged as it was with the wounded, it 
was with difficulty that a little garret for the King and 

1 These figures represent only the infantry of the eight (not seven) 
Corps engaged; they do not include the cavalry, 24,584 ; the artillery, 
at least as strong ; nor the officerhood of the two armies, numbering 
several thousands. Inclusive of those items the German host ' ' em- 
ployed" in the battle of Gravelotte St. Privat numbered, in round 
figures, 232,000 combatants. Accepting Moltke's own estimate of 
ten defenders per "Schrith" of front, there works out a total of 
133,000 men, as the strength of the French army "employed " in 
the battle. 

2 During the first fourteen days of August, the German troops 
were in conflict with the enemy on five occasions: viz. Saarbriicken, 
2nd, loss 79, Weissenburg, 4th, loss 1551 ; Worth, 6th, loss 10,642; 
Spicheren, 6th, loss 4871 ; Borny, 14th, loss 5000. Total losses 
during the fourteen days, 22,143. 


shelter for his General Staff were found. Its members 
were engrossed throughout the night in preparing the 
dispositions which the new phase of the situation 
created by the victory rendered immediately necessary. 
This exertion enabled all those orders to be laid before 
his Majesty for approval on the morning of the 


The siege of Metz had formed no part of the 
original plan of campaign ; it had been intended to do 
no more than merely to maintain an observation on 
the place when the main army should have passed it on 
the advance towards Paris; and a Reserve Division, 
consisting of eighteen battalions, sixteen squadrons, and 
thirty-six guns, detailed for that duty, was now near at 

Under the altered conditions, however, the regular 
investment of Metz was now necessary, and this 
involved a radical alteration of the existing arrange- 
ments throughout the whole army. 

A separate army under the command of Prince 
Frederick Charles, consisting of the 1st, VIIth,andVIIIth 
Corps of the former 1st Army, the Ilnd, Illrd, IXth, 
and Xth Corps of the Ilnd Army, the Reserve Division 
and the 1st and 3rd Cavalry Divisions, in all 150,000 
men, was assigned to the duty of investing Metz. 

The Guard, IVth, and Xllth Corps and the 5th and 
6th Cavalry Divisions were formed into a separate army 
under the command of the Crown Prince of Saxony ; 
it was styled " The Army of the Meuse " and was 
138,000 strong. 1 This and the Illrd Army, which 

1 These figures are erroneous. It is manifest that three Corps and 
two Cavalry Divisions, most of which had been materially weakened by 
casualties, could not furnish a strength of 138,000 men ; nor could 


numbered 223,000 men, were directed to advance 
against the new French army forming at Chalons. 

Certainly the army investing Metz was left weaker 
than the blockaded enemy. It was to be expected 
that the latter would renew his efforts to break out to 
the westward. Prince Frederick Charles' main forces 
were therefore to remain on the left bank of the 

All these orders received the approval of the King, 
and were dispatched to the commanding officers by 
eleven o'clock on the morning of the 19th. 

In accordance with the orders of Prince Frederick 
Charles, the Xth Corps occupied the woodland districts 
of the lower Moselle as far as St. Privat, while the Ilnd 
held the high ridge from that point to Moscou. To the 
right of the Ilnd, the Vlllth and Vllth Corps followed 
on, the latter positioned on both sides of the Upper 
Moselle. The 1st Corps occupied the Pouilly upland to 
left and right of the Seille, specially charged to protect 
the great magazines which were being established at 
Remilly and Pont a Mousson. The 3rd Reserve 
Division moved to the vicinity of Retonfay, north- 
east of Metz. The IXth and Illrd Corps cantoned at 
St. Marie and Verneville as reserve. All the troops 
immediately set about the construction of earthworks, 
and of bridges over the Moselle above and below the 

Of the Corps now belonging to the Army of the Meuse, 
the Xllth assembled at Conflans and the Guards at Mars 
la Tour ; the IVth Corps, which had not been ordered 
to Metz, had already reached Commercy. 

The Illrd Army, after crossing the Vosges range, and 
having left a Bavarian brigade blockading Toul, was 

the Illrd Army, originally 1 30,000 strong, swelled by one Corps and 
diminished by battle losses of 12,000, approximate a strength of 
223,000. As a matter of fact, on August 22nd, the Meuse Army was 
86,275 strong, and the Illrd Army 137,622 ; the two armies together 
had a total strength, in round numbers, of 224,000 men. 



pressing forward in three columns. Its foremost Corps 
had already reached the Meuse, but were obliged to halt 
there for two days, so as to cross the river approximately 
abreast of the Meuse army. Its cavalry meanwhile 
patrolled three marches ahead as far as Chalons and 
Vitry, where, for the first time since Worth, it regained 
touch of the enemy. The French encountered were 
only guarding posts on the Marne railway-line, which 
retired when the traffic thereon ceased. 


Meanwhile at Chalons there had been formed a French 
army of 166 battalions, 100 squadrons, and 380 guns, 
consisting of the 1st, Vth, Vllth, and Xllth Corps. 

Of the last the Division which had been left behind 
on the Spanish frontier formed the nucleus, to which 
was added a body of very superior troops, consisting of 
four regiments of marines; later the two cavalry divisions 
also joined. General Trochu, who had been made Gover- 
nor of Paris, had taken back with him thither eighteen 
battalions of Gardes-Mobiles, they having already given 
such proofs of insubordination that it was thought un- 
safe to confront them with the enemy. 

The Emperor had arrived in Chalons and had placed 
Marshal MacMahon in command of the newly-formed 
army. In the French Head-quarter it was not un- 
naturally assumed that Marshal Bazaine was in retreat 
from Metz. By an advance of the Army of Chalons 
merely to Verdun the armies could form a junction with 
each other in the course of a few days, and so a fight- 
ing force be formed which might make head against 
the hitherto victorious enemy. On the other hand, 
MacMahon had to concern himself with the duty of 


covering Paris, and that capital, no less than his own 
right flank, was threatened by the appearance of the 
Crown Prince of Prussia's army on the Meuse. 

For the attainment of a decision between advancing 
and retiring, it was beyond everything necessary to 
know the direction which Marshal Bazaine might have 

On the 18th tidings had come from him, that he had 
maintained his position in a battle about Rezonville, 
but that his troops had to be supplied with ammuni- 
tion and supplies before they could renew the march. 
From this it seemed only too probable that the com- 
munications of the Army of the Rhine were already 
threatened ; and MacMahon determined to march on 
Rheims, whence he could either reach Paris, though by 
a somewhat circuitous route, or move in the direction 
of the other army. 

But when it became known that the Crown Prince 
of Prussia's army had not even been near Metz, and 
that Prussian cavalry had already appeared before 
Vitry, the Marshal could not deceive himself as to the 
danger involved in the latter alternative. With sound 
judgment, therefore, he stood out against the order of 
the Empress and the Ministry to undertake that enter- 
prise ; he determined against it, and announced his 
resolution to march to Paris. Under its walls he could 
accept ajbattle with advantage, since the fortifications, 
even in the event of defeat, assured a safe retreat and 
precluded pursuit. 

Further reports from Metz did not afford a clear 
insight into the situation there. Also on the 18th, 
" the army had held its position," the narrative ran 
only the right wing had changed front. " The troops 
required two or three days' rest," but the Marshal 
" counted still on being able to move out in a northerly 
direction," and fight his way to Chalons by the Mont- 
medy Ste. Menehould route, if this road was not 
strongly held by the enemy. In that case, he would 

F 2 


march on Sedan, and even by Mezieres, in order to 
reach Chalons. 

Bazaine might already have committed himself 
to the movement thus indicated, and therefore Mar- 
shal MacMahon, who was not the man to leave 
his fellow-soldier in the lurch, instead of marching 
on Paris, set forth on the 23rd in the direction of 

The suddenness of this decision caused all the pre- 
parations for the undertaking to be left unexecuted. 
At the end of the first day's march the troops reached 
the Suippe late in the evening in pouring rain. They 
lacked every necessary, and two Corps remained 
entirely without food. The Marshal was therefore 
forced to move his army further northward to Rethel, 
where large magazines of provisions had been estab- 
lished, and where the railway facilitated the bringing 
up of stores. Even on the third day's march the army 
had made little progress eastward. The left wing 
remained at Rethel, the right reached the Aisne, neai 
Vouziers. On August 26th the main army was still 
standing between Attigny and Le Chene on the 
Ardennes canal, while the Vllth Corps and a regi- 
ment of Hussars lay in front of Vouziers for the 
protection of the right flank. 

"While the French army was thus marching eastward 
by a wide detour, the German forces, which had been pu1 
in motion at the same time, were for their part marching 
due westward. 

According to orders issued from the supreme Head- 
quarter at Pont a Mousson, the advance on the enemy, 
supposed to be at Chalons, was to be effected in such 
manner that the Illrd Army, marching on the left oj 
the Army of the Meuse, should have the start by s 
day's march, so that the enemy, wherever he mighl 
stand halted, could be struck simultaneously in front and 
on his right flank, and thus forced away northward froir 
the direction of Paris. The two armies were to converge 


as they advanced, and to reach the line of Ste. Mene- 
hould Vitry on the 26th. 

On the first day's march, the armies still on a front 
some fifty-six miles long, the Meuse was reached ; on 
the second day, the 24th, they advanced to the line 
St. Dizier Bar le Due Verdun. The attempts to 
take the latter place and Toul in the by-going proved 

So early as on that day the 4th Cavalry Division, 
which had pushed far ahead, sent in important news. 
The Rhenish dragoons had found Chalons and the 
camp at Mourmelon deserted, and notwithstanding the 
destruction effected, there still remained in the latter 
considerable booty. An intercepted letter written by a 
French officer, which intimated that the relief of Metz 
was in prospect, and another which stated that Marshal 
MacMahon was at Rheims with 150,000 men and was 
fortifying his position there, were corroborated by the 
Paris newspapers. 

On the 25th the Army of the Meuse formed a line 
from Sommeille to Dombasle, while the heads of 
columns of the Illrd Army were already executing 
the march prescribed for the folloAving day, on the 
Ste. Menehould Vitry road. The small fortress of 
Vitry, a few hours after a battalion of Mobiles had 
left the place, surrendered to the 4th Cavalry Division. 
On its march to Ste. Menehould, thence to be forwarded 
by train to Paris, this battalion, 1000 strong, fell into 
the hands of the 6th Cavalry Division as it was moving 
on Dampierre, and was carried away captive. 

The 5th Cavalry Division reached Ste. Menehould, 
and the 12th followed on the same road as far as 
Clermont, patrolling the country up to Varennes, 
within nine miles of the French outposts at Grand Pre, 
but without learning anything as to the whereabouts of 
the French army. 

The scouting service to any great distance on the 
right of the army was hindered by the vicinity of the 


forest of Argonnes, which it was difficult for the 
cavalry to penetrate without the assistance of infantry. 
The inhabitants of the country began to show them- 
selves extremely hostile. The Government had 
provided them with arms, and organized a general 
rising. The Germans, who hitherto had made war on 
the Emperor alone, were now forced to use their arms 
against the population. The franc-tireurs, though 
not affecting operations on a large scale, were a 
source of much annoyance to the smaller undertakings, 
and as it naturally embittered the soldiers to realize that 
they were no longer safe either by day or night, the 
character of the war became more stern, and the 
sufferings of the country were increased. 

A Paris telegram, sent by way of London, reached 
this day (25th) the Royal Head-quarter at Bar le Due. 
It stated that MacMahon was at Rheims, and sought 
to effect a junction with Bazaine. 

It is always a serious matter to exchange, without the 
most pressing necessity, a once-settled and well-devised 
plan for a new and unprepared scheme. It would have 
been unwise and unskilful hastily to alter the whole 
direction of the advance because of rumours and 
information which might later probably turn out to be 
unfounded. Endless difficulties must result from such 
a course ; the arrangements for bringing up baggage 
and reinforcements would have to be cancelled, and 
aimless marches might impair the confidence of the 
troops in their commanders. 

The orders for the following day, issued at eleven 
o'clock in the morning, prescribed therefore for both 
armies merely a slight alteration of direction ; Rheims 
instead of Chalons was indicated as the objective. The 
cavalry of the right wing, however, was explicitly 
ordered to advance to Buzancy and Vouziers, where a 
thorough insight into the situation could not but be 

In war it is for the most part with probabilities only 


that the strategist can reckon ; and the probability, as a 
rule, is that the enemy will do the right thing. Such a 
course could not be anticipated as that the French army 
would uncover Paris and march along the Belgian 
frontier to Metz. Such a move seemed strange, and in 
deed somewhat venturesome ; but nevertheless it was 
possible. The chief of the General Staff, therefore, that 
same day worked out a tabular detail of marches, upon 
which the three Corps of the Army of the Meuse, together 
with the two Bavarian Corps which were nearest that 
army, could be brought together in the vicinity of Dam- 
villers, on the right bank of the Meuse, in three not 
over-severe marches. 

These forces, with the two Corps standing in reserve 
at Metz, which could be brought up, would constitute 
a force of 150,000 men, which might give battle in 
the specified vicinity, or compel the enemy to do so on 
the march to Longuyon. Without employing this 
reserve, there was every prospect that the advance of 
the French could be brought to a halt on this side the 
Meuse, and then another Corps of the Illrd Army 
could be brought up. 

This march-table was soon to be brought into service. 
Fresh news arrived in the course of the same afternoon. 
The newspapers revealed the secret by publishing vehe- 
ment speeches delivered in the National Assembly to 
the effect " that the French general who should leave 
his comrade in the lurch, deserved the execration of the 
country." It would be a disgrace, it was protested, to 
the French nation if the brave Bazaine were left un- 
succoured : from all this, and considering the effect of 
such phrases on the French, it was to be expected 
that military considerations would give way to poli- 
tical. A telegram from London, quoting the Paris 
Temps, stated that MacMahon had suddenly resolved 
to hasten to the assistance of Bazaine, though the 
abandonment of the road to Paris endangered the 
safety of France. 


The King, before night, approved of the march to the 
right, and the orders were dispatched that night direct 
to the respective Army Corps on the march. 

On the 26th his Majesty moved his head-quarter 
to Clermont. The Crown Prince of Saxony had set 
out for Varennes early in the morning with the Xllth 
Corps, and had ordered the Guards to Dombasle, the 
IVth Corps to Fleury. 

The cavalry, sent forward in every direction, found 
that the enemy had evacuated the region of the Suippe 
valley and had not yet entered that of the Meuse ; that 
Buzancy and Grand Pre were in occupation of the 
French, and that a large encampment of their Vllth 
Corps had been specifically perceived on the height 
of Vouziers. The apparition of a few handsful of 
cavalry, despatched thither on observation duty, occa- 
sioned an almost unaccountable excitement. General 
Douay, quartered at Vouziers, received the most 
exaggerated reports, and must have thought that 
a general attack by the German army was imminent. 
The Vllth Corps was kept under arms the entire 
night in pouring rain, and the Marshal resolved to 
advance towards Vouziers and Buzancy with all his 
forces on the following morning. Thus the march 
to the east received a check as early as the 27th, but 
the untruthfulness of the reports very soon became 
sufficiently apparent. 

If the German chiefs were deeply interested in gain- 
ing an insight into the enemy's movements, so on the 
French side this requisite was certainly urgent in no 
less imperative degree. With judicious disposal of their 
cavalry on the right flank, a surprise like that above 
mentioned would have been impossible, but the 1st 
French Cavalry Division was placed on the left flank, 
where there was no danger whatever, and the 2nd was 
rearmost of everything. It seemed as though in the 
French army less attention was paid to the repulse 
of an attack than to the evasion of one, and to 


the unobserved attainment of Montmedy, the point 
of rendezvous with the other army. When the 
movement of the Germans from southward could no 
longer be doubted, it would certainly have been best 
for the French to take the vigorous offensive in that 
direction with intent to defeat them, or at least to 
sweep them out of the vicinity of their own line of 
march. If they had failed in this they would, at any 
rate, have readily learnt that their undertaking was 
impracticable, and that its further prosecution must 
certainly result in a catastrophe. It must, however, 
be admitted that the German cavalry formed an 
almost impenetrable screen. The Marshal could not 
know that his enemy was echeloned from Vitry to 
Varennes, a distance of more than thirty-seven miles, 
and was not at all in form to attack him just then in 
serious earnest. 

August 21th. The Marshal had cleared up his mis- 
conception, and on the 27th he continued his march, at 
least with part of his troops. The Vllth and Vth Corps 
covered the movement at Vouziers and Buzancy, the 
Xllth advanced to Le Chene, and the 1st Cavalry 
Division to Beaumont, probably to ascertain the 
whereabouts of Marshal Bazaine. The 1st Corps 
and the 2nd Cavalry Division remained behind on the 

The Saxon Corps, the furthest forward of the German 
Army, had received direct orders to march to Dun on 
the 27th, and secure on the right bank the passages 
over the Meuse, as far as Stenay. It reached Stenay 
at three o'clock in the afternoon, and threw forward a 
post on the left bank. 

The cavalry clung closely to the enemy and followed 
his movements, often engaging in petty skirmishes. 
The departure of the Vth French Corps from Buzancy 
in the direction of Le Chene was at once detected, as 
also was the march to Beaumont ; and the Saxon 
Cavalry Division pushed forward that evening to 


Nouart. The Bavarian Corps reached the Clermont 
Verdun road, the 5th Ste. Menehould ; the other Corps 
of the Illrd Army were hurrying by forced marches 
in a northerly direction. 

The prospect now seemed certain that the enemy 
would be overtaken on the left bank of the Meuse. 
Word was sent to the blockading army before Metz 
that the two Corps asked for were no longer required, 
but they had already set out. 

The latest dispositions made by Marshal MacMahon 
clearly betokened a last effort on his part to persevere 
in the original direction. He was echeloned along the 
northernmost of the roads by which he could reach Metz, 
but had left a strong reserve on the Aisne on which he 
might fall back. When he now learnt that nothing had 
been seen of the Army of the Rhine at Montmedy, but 
that it actually was still at Metz, he resolved on retreat- 
ing, and, after giving orders to that effect for the 
following morning, reported his intention to Paris. 

From thence during the night came the most 
strenuous remonstrances. The Minister of War tele- 
graphed, " If you leave Bazaine in the lurch, the revo- 
lution will break out," and the Council of Ministers 
issued a peremptory order to relieve Metz. The troops 
in front of the Marshal, it was urged, were nothing 
more than part of the army investing Metz ; he had the 
start of the Crown Prince of Prussia by several days' 
march ; and General Vinoy had already left Paris for 
Rheims with the newly-formed XHIth Corps as a rein- 
forcement to him. 

The Marshal silenced his military convictions and 
issued new orders. But the troops had started in 
advance of the promulgation of them. The change of 
route gave rise to much confusion ; the roads were 
bad, and quarters for the night were not reached until 
darkness had Jbng set in ; the men were weary, wet to 
the skin, and depressed in spirits. 

August 28&.V Little more than nine miles' distance 
eastward was attained. The Xllth Corps reached La 


Besace, the 1st was on the march to Le Chene, the 
Vllth was halted at Boult aux Bois because of a false 
report that two Prussian Corps were occupying 
Buzancy, further ahead. On the strength of this 
report the Vth Corps moved toward that town by 
way of Bar, but went on to Bois des Dames in the 
afternoon. Neither of these movements was interfered 
with. The German cavalry had strict orders, while 
watching the French as closely as possible, not in any 
way to check or press them, and the Saxon cavalry 
evacuated Nouart on the approach of the enemy. The 
Germans had to await the coming up of the Illrd 
Army, the rearmost Corps of which, the Vlth, had only 
just reached Ste. Menehould. 

August 29th. For this day also a non-offensive 
attitude was prescribed, and the bringing on of decisive 
operations was postponed until the 30th. 

The Marshal in his head-quarter at Stonne had been 
informed that the Germans occupied Dun, and that the 
bridges over the Meuse had been destroyed. He 
had no pontoon-train, and could cross the river 
only lower down, at Mouzon and Villers. His Xllth 
Corps and 1st Cavalry Division passed over to the 
right bank unhindered at these points ; the 1st Corps 
and the 2nd Cavalry Division proceeded to Raucourt. 
The Vllth Corps, delayed on march by petty skir- 
mishes on its right flank, did not reach its destina- 
tion at La Besace, but went into bivouac at Oches. 
The Vth Corps was to have moved to Beaumont, but 
the staff officer carrying the order fell into the hands 
of the Prussian cavalry together with his escort. 
General de Failly therefore marched upon Stenay, 
according to his original instructions. 

Up to this time, apart from the cavalry, the Saxon 
Corps alone had been in contact with the enemy, but 
the Guard now came up to Buzancy in parallel line, 
while the Saxon Corps crossed over to the left bank 
of the Meuse at Dun. Its advanced guard at once 
took possession of the wooded spur to the north- 


east of Nouart, drove out the French cavalry, and 
pressed ahead to Champy, where it encountered a 
strong force in Lespart's Division. The purpose of the 
reconnaissance having been attained, the advanced 
guard was called in. The French Division, in conse- 
quence of fresh orders received from the Marshal, 
withdrew simultaneously in a northerly direction. 

On the German side four Corps of the Illrd Army 
were now within nine miles rearward of the Army of 
the Meuse. The 5th Cavalry Division stood at Attigny 
on the enemy's line of communication ; the 6th was 
hanging on the heels of the French columns of march, 
and, among other things, had taken Boncq with a dis- 
mounted party. The Royal Head -quarter was now 
advanced to Grand Pre, and, as the result of the various 
reports which had poured in, the resolution was taken 
to attack the enemy on the following day, before he 
should cross the Meuse. The Army of the Meuse was 
to march towards Beaumont, the Illrd Army to move 
forward between that place and Le Chene. To bring 
both armies to a parallel front, the right wing was not 
to move until ten o'clock, while the left l was to start 
before six o'clock. Only the trains absolutely requisite 
for the battle were to follow. 

(August 30th.) 

On the 30th of August, at ten o'clock, the King set 
out for Sommauthe by way of Buzancy. Both the 
Bavarian Corps were on the march thither, the Vth 

1 The Army of the Meuse constituted the right wing ; the Illrd 
Army, the left. 


Corps advanced in the centre towards Oches, the Xlth, 
together with the Wiirtemberg Division, was headino- 
'for Le Chene, the Vlth for Vouziers. The IVth Corps 
on the right was advancing by Belval, the Xllth 
reached to the Meuse, while the Guard Corps followed 
in rear as a reserve. 

Marshal MacMahon had issued orders for the attain- 
ment of the object that his entire army should 
on this day cross to the right bank of the Meuse; 
only the baggage trains and sick were to remain 

His 1st Corps and the 2nd Cavalry Division had left 
Raucourt so early as seven ; they crossed the river at 
Remilly, light bridges having been thrown over for the 
infantry. The Vllth Corps at Oches had struck camp 
still earlier at four o'clock, but as it took with it in the 
march all its waggons, even the empty ones, the trains 
formed a column more than nine miles in length, and 
seven of its battalions were forced to march alongside 
the road in the capacity of baggage guard ; so that the 
brigade bringing up the rear was unable to start until 
ten o'clock. This long procession soon came into con- 
tact with the Prussian cavalry, was fired upon by 
artillery, and compelled to arrest its march. Not till 
one o'clock could the movement on La Besace be 
resumed, and then, as heavy firing was heard from 
Beaumont, General Douay conceived it right to abandon 
the road to Mouzon and take that to Remilly. 

To the Vth Corps had been precautionally assigned 
the duty of covering the march of the other two. The 
troops had reached the vicinity of Beaumont only at 
4 a.m., and were thoroughly exhausted by fighting 
and the night-march. General de Failly therefore 
determined to halt his Corps for cooking and rest 
before pursuing the march. Precautionary measures 
seem to have been altogether neglected, though it must 
have been known that the enemy was now close at 
hand. While at half-past one the officers and men were 


engaged in their meal, Prussian shells suddenly burst 
among these heedless groups. 

The two Corps of the German right wing had to move 
through a wooded tract in four wholly independent 
columns, by ways sodden with rain. The Crown Prince 
of Saxony therefore ordered that no single column 
should attempt to enter on an attack before the neigh- 
bouring one was ready to co-operate. 

The IVth Corps had started very early, and after a 
short rest had pursued its march at ten o'clock. When 
at noon the head of the 8th Division emerged from the 
forest, it discerned from its elevated position the 
enemy's camp about 800 paces distant, in the condition 
as described. General Scholer (commanding the 
Division) held that the opportunity of so complete a 
surprise was not to be let pass ; the proximity of his 
force could not long remain undetected by the enemy. 
He announced it by his cannon-fire. 

The Division soon recognized that it had drawn 
upon itself an enemy of immensely superior strength. 
The French rapidly got under arms, and dense swarms 
of riflemen hurried to the front, whose long-range 
Chassep6ts inflicted great losses, especially upon the 
artillerymen. The main body of the 8th Division had 
meanwhile come up to the assistance of its advanced 
guard, and ere long the 7th Division appeared on the 
right. The French assailed it too with great impetu- 
osity, and could only be repulsed at the bayonet-point. 
Presently, however, the foremost battalions of both 
Divisions made their way into the French camp in front 
of Beaumont, into the town itself, and finally into a 
second camp located northward of it. Seven guns, of 
which the teams were missing, and which continued 
firing up to the last moment, a number of gunners, 
waggons and horses, fell into the hands of the assail- 

Whilst now, about two o'clock, a pause occurred in 
the infantry fight, fourteen batteries of the IVth 


Corps engaged in a contest with the French artillery 
deployed on the stretch of heights north of Beaumont. 
The German artillery mass was presently strengthened 
by the Saxon artillery on the right, and by the Bavarian 
batteries on the left. This formidable and commanding 
artillery line, constantly advancing in echelon, promptly 
squandered the mitrailleuses, and at three o'clock the 
remaining French batteries also were silenced. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Corps, on the left of the Prussian 
IVth, was advancing on La Thibaudine, when it was 
quite unexpectedly attacked from the west by a strong 
force of the enemy. 

These troops were Conseil Dumesnil's Division of the 
Vllth French Corps, which was continuing in march 
to Mouzon in error, acting on its original orders. 
Completely surprised as it was, and attacked in 
front and flank, the Division gave up all hope of cutting 
its way through, and at about four o'clock beat a hasty 
retreat northwards, leaving two guns behind. 

The Bavarians had in the meantime taken possession 
of the farm of Thibaudine, and the Prussians that of 
Harnoterie. The wooded hills prevented a clear view 
of the surrounding country ; the enemy had completely 

General de Failly was making strenuous efforts to 
collect his scattered forces in front of Mouzon, under 
cover of a rear-guard halted at La Sartelle ; and 
General Lebrun had left behind on the left side of the 
Meuse an infantry and a cavalry brigade and three 
batteries belonging to the Xllth Corps, to render him 

At five o'clock the 8th Division, headed by the 13th 
Brigade, was pushing toilsomely through the dense 
forest of Givodeau, on its way to operate against this 
new defensive position. On emerging from the wood the 
battalions, which had fallen into some confusion, were 
received by a brisk fire at short range. The repeated 
efforts of the riflemen to advance were unsuccessful, 


and the dense underwood hindered the clubbed mass 
behind them from forming. By the time the Saxon 
Corps had succeeded with extreme difficulty in extri- 
cating itself from the forest and swamps of the Wamme 
stream, and had reached Le'tanne, the impracticability 
of further progress in the Meuse valley became ap- 
parent, since numerous French batteries, in unassailable 
positions on the opposite side of the river, commanded 
all the low ground. The Corps therefore ascended the 
plateau, moved in its turn through the Givodeau woods, 
and debouching thence swelled the strength of the 
forces assembled on the northern border, where, how- 
ever, their development on a broader front was impos- 
sible. So about six o'clock the infantry engagement 
came to a stand for a time in this quarter. 

On the left the 14th Brigade had come up into line 
with the 13th, and this body (the 7th Division) was 
followed by the 8th Division in two columns. 

The 93rd Regiment had carried the height to the 
north-east of Yoncq, and advanced in pursuit of the 
enemy as far as to the foot of Mont de Brune. Four 
mitrailleuses and eight guns, some of them with their 
entire teams, fell thus into the hands of the Anhalters. 

When, at half-past five, the artillery had come up into 
position, and at the same time the 27th Regiment was 
approaching, General Zychlinski (commanding 14th 
Brigade) advanced to the enveloping attack. 

The French occupied in strength the summit of the 
entirely isolated hill ; their batteries faced to eastward 
against the Bois de Givodeau, whence an assault 
threatened ; but they swiftly changed front to the south 
and directed a heavy fire on the 93rd and the 2nd Bat- 
talion of the 27th, as they charged up on this face while 
the Fusilier battalion was at the same time pressing 
forward from the west. Regardless of their losses, the 
assailants eagerly scaled the ascent, the brigade and 
regimental commanders at their head. Six French 
guns were seized while in action, in spite of a brave 


resistance by the gunners and covering troops, and the 
enemy was pursued as far as the Roman road. Here 
four more guns, completely horsed, which had been 
abandoned by the artillerymen, fell into the hands of 
the conquerors. 

The three battalions 1 hurried on towards Mouzon, 
without waiting for the support of the 2 14th Brigade 
following in rear, but they suddenly found themselves 
threatened by a cavalry-charge. 

Marshal MacMahon had recognized the fact that the 
only thing left him now to do was to effect as orderly 
an evacuation as possible of the left bank of the Meuse ; 
the reinforcements sent across from the right had 
already been recalled. The 5th Cuirassier Regiment 
alone still remained. When, a little to the north of the 
Faubourg de Mouzon, it was reached by the fire of 
the advancing Prussians, the French regiment hurled 
itself upon the enemy with a noble contempt for death. 

The shock struck the 10th Company of the 27th 
Regiment. The soldiers, without closing their ranks, 
waited for the word of command of their leader. Captain 
Helmuth, and then fired a volley at close range, which 
struck down eleven officers and 100 men, the brave 
commander of the band of horsemen falling fifteen 
paces in front of his men. The survivors rushed back 
towards the Meuse, and, as all the bridges had been 
removed, they strove to gain the other side by swim- 

Considerable masses of the enemy were still in front 
of Mouzon, and upon these the batteries of the IVth 
Corps, as one after another they came into action, 
directed their fire. Two Bavarian batteries brought 
under their fire the bridge at Villers, lower down the 
river, and prevented it from being used. Then the 
suburb was carried after a fierce encounter, and here 
too the bridge across the Meuse was taken and held. 
The enemy, deprived of every way of retreat, received 

1 Of 27th and 93rd Regiments. 2 Read in " rest of the." 



with a hot fire the 8th Division emerging from the valley 
of the Yoncq, but was gradually driven back towards 
the river. The French troops in front of the Bois de 
Givodeau were also in a hopeless plight ; they were 
assailed by the 7th Division and Xllth Corps, and 
were dispersed after an obstinate struggle. By night- 
fall the French had ceased their resistance on the hither 
side of the Meuse. Many lagging stragglers were taken 
prisoners, others hid themselves in the copses and farm- 
houses, or tried to escape by swimming the river. 

In this battle, as in the preceding ones, the attack 
suffered far heavier loss than the defence. The Army 
of the Meuse lost 3500 combatants, the preponderating 
loss falling on the IVth Corps. The French estimated 
their loss at 1800 ; but in the course of the day and on 
the following morning, 3000 prisoners, mostly un- 
vvounded, fell into the hands of the victors, with 51 
guns, 33 ammunition and many other waggons, and a 
military chest containing 150,000 francs. And, what 
was of supreme importance, by the result of this battle 
the French army had been driven into an extremely 
unfavourable position. 

While the IVth Corps had been chiefly sustaining the 
day's battle, the Saxon Cavalry had pushed forward 
on the right bank of the Meuse, and had reconnoitred 
towards Mouzon and Carignan. The Guard Corps 
reached Beaumont, and General von der Tann with the 
1st Bavarian Corps was at Raucourt, having marched 
by way of La Besace with some slight skirmishing on 
the way. The Ilnd Bavarian Corps was assembled at 
Sommauthe, the Vth Corps had reached Stonne, the 
Xlth, La Besace. Thus seven Corps now stood in 
close concentration between the Meuse and the Bar. 

The King rode back to Buzancy after the battle, as 
all the villages in the vicinity of the battle-field were 
crowded with the wounded. Here, as previously at 
Clermont, was felt the great inconvenience of inade- 
quate lodging for hundreds of illustrious guests and 


their suites, when, for once in a way for military 
reasons, head-quarters were established in a small 
village, instead of in a large town. Shelter for those 
officers whose duty it was to prepare the necessary 
orders for the morrow was only found late at nio-ht 
and with considerable difficulty. 

These orders instructed that on the 31st two Corps 
of the Army of the Meuse should cross over to the 
right bank of the river, to prevent the possibility of 
further progress of the French to Metz by way of 
Montmedy. Two Corps of the army besieging Metz 
were besides already posted in that direction about 
Etain and Briey. The Illrd Army was to continue its 
movement in the northward direction. 

As the situation had now developed itself, it already 
seemed within sight that the Army of Chalons might 
be compelled to cross over into neutral territory, and 
the Belgian Government was therefore asked through 
diplomatic channels to concern itself with its disarma- 
ment in that event. The German troops had orders at 
once to cross the Belgian frontier, should the enemy 
not lay down his arms there. 

While the Vth French Corps was still fighting about 
Beaumont, and when the rest of the army had crossed 
the Meuse, General MacMahon had ordered the con- 
centration of his army on Sedan. He did not intend 
to offer battle there, but it was indispensable to give 
his troops a short rest, and provide them with food and 
ammunition. He then meant to continue the retreat 
by way of Mezieres, which General Vinoy was just 
then approaching with the newly-formed Xlllth Corps. 
The 1st Corps, which had arrived at Carignan early in 
the afternoon, detached two of its divisions to Douzy in 
the evening to check any further advance of the Germans. 

Though any pursuit immediately after the battle of 
Beaumont was prevented by the intervening river, the 
retreat of the French soon assumed the ominous 
character of a rout. The troops were utterly worn out 

G 2 


by their exertions by day and night, in continuous 
rain and with but scanty supplies of food. The march- 
ing to and fro, to no visible purpose, had undermined 
their confidence in their leaders, and a series of luck- 
less fights had shaken their self-reliance. Thousands of 
fugitives, crying for bread, crowded round the waggons 
as they struggled forward to reach the little fortress 
which had so unexpectedly become the central rallying 
point of a great army. 

The Emperor Napoleon arrived at Sedan from 
Carignan late in the evening of the 30th ; the Vllth 
Corps reached Floing during the night, but the Xllth 
Corps did not arrive at Bazeilles until the following 
morning. The Vth Corps mustered at the eastern 
suburb of Sedan in a fearfully shattered state, followed 
in the afternoon of the 31st by the 1st, which, after 
many rear-guard actions with the German cavalry, 
took up a position behind the Givonne valley. To 
pursue the march to Mezieres on that day was not to 
be thought of. The Xllth Corps had that same 
evening to show a front at Bazeilles, where the thunder 
of their cannon already heralded the arrival of the 
Germans. The destruction of the bridges there and at 
Donchery was ordered, but the order remained un- 
executed, owing to the worn-out condition of the men. 

August 31st. Of the army of the Meuse the Guard 
and 12th Cavalry Divisions had crossed the Meuse 
at Pouilly, and by a pontoon bridge at Letanne, 
and swept the country between the Meuse and the 
Chiers. Following close upon the rear of the French 
and- harassing them in skirmishes till they reached 
their new position, they brought in as prisoners 
numbers of stragglers. The Guard Corps then crossed 
the Chiers at Carignan and halted at Sachy ; the Xllth 
pushed on to about Douzy on the Meuse, 1 while its 
advanced guard thrust ahead on the further side (of 
the Chiers) as far as Francheval. The IVth Corps 
remained at Mouzon. 

1 Douzy is on the north bank of the Chiers, 


The 4th Cavalry Division of the Illrd Army recon- 
noitred in the direction of Sedan, drove back the 
French outposts from Wadelincourt and Frenois, and, 
moving from the latter place, seized the railroad under 
the fire of hostile artillery. The 6th Cavalry Division 
on the left flank proceeded on the way to Mezieres as 
far as Poix. 

When the 1st Bavarian Corps reached Remilly before 
noon, it came under heavy fire from the opposite side 
of the river, and at once brought up its batteries in 
position on the hither slope of the valley of the Meuse. 
A sharp cannonade ensued, by the end of which sixty 
Bavarian guns were engaged. It was only now that 
the French attempted to blow up the railway bridge 
south of Bazeilles, but the vigorous fire of the 4th 
Jager Battalion drove off the enemy with his engineers, 
the Jagers threw the powder-barrels into the river, 
and at midday crossed the bridge. The battalion 
entered Bazeilles in the face of a storm of bullets, and 
occupied the northern fringe of the straggling place. 
Thus the Xllth French Corps was forced to move up 
into a position between Balan and Moncelle, where, 
having been reinforced by batteries belonging to the 1st 
Corps, it had to encounter, and that with considerable 
waste of power, the daring little band of Germans. 

General von der Tann l did not however hold it 
advisable to commit himself on that day to a serious 
conflict on the further side of the Meuse with a closely 
compacted enemy, while his OAvn Corps was still uncon- 
centrated ; and, since the weak detachment in Bazeilles 
had no hope of being reinforced, it withdrew therefrom 
at about half-past three without being pursued. 

Meanwhile two pontoon bridges had been laid at 
Allicourt, without molestation from the French. 
These and the railway bridge were barricaded for the 
night, while eighty-four guns further secured them from 
being crossed. The 1st Bavarian Corps went into 
bivouac at Angecourt, the Ilnd at Hancourt. 
1 Commanding 1st Bavarian Corps. 


To the left of the Bavarians the Xlth Corps marched 
towards Donchery, followed by the Vth. The advanced 
guard found the place unoccupied, and extended 
itself on the further side of the river. By three o'clock 
two other bridges were completed close below Don- 
chery, whilst the railway bridge above the place, also 
found unguarded, was destroyed. 

On the extreme left the Wiirtemberg and the 6th 
Cavalry Divisions came in contact with the XHIth 
French Corps, which had just arrived at Mezieres. 

The King removed his head-quarters to Vendresse. 

In spite of a succession of occasionally very severe 
marches in bad weather, and of being in regard to sup- 
plies chiefly beholden to requisitioning, the Army of the 
Meuse advancing on the east, and the Illrd Army on 
the south, were now directly in face of the concentrated 
French Army. Marshal MacMahon could scarcely have 
realized that the only chance of safety for his army, or 
even for part of it, lay in the immediate prosecution of 
his retreat on the 1st of September. It is true that 
the Crown Prince of Prussia, in possession as he was of 
every passage over the Meuse, would have promptly 
taken that movement in flank in the narrow space, little 
more than four miles wide, which was bounded on the 
north by the frontier. That nevertheless the attempt 
was not risked was only to be explained by the actual 
condition of the exhausted troops ; for on this day the 
French Army was not yet capable of undertaking a 
disciplined march involving fighting ; it could only 
fight where it stood. 

On the German side it was still expected that the 
Marshal would strike for Mezieres. The Army of the 
Meuse was ordered to attack the enemy's positions with 
the object of detaining him in them ; the Illrd Army, 
leaving only one Corps on the left bank, was to press 
forward on the right side of the river. 

The French p6sition about Sedan was covered to rear- 
ward by the fortress. The Meuse and the valleys of 


the Givonne and the Floing brooks offered formidable 
obstructions, but it was imperative that those outmost 
lines should be obstinately held. The Calvary height 
of Illy was a very important point, strengthened as it 
was by the Bois de Garenne in its rear, whence a high 
ridge stretching to Bazeilles afforded much cover in its 
numerous dips and shoulders. In the event of a retreat 
into neutral territory in the last extremity, the road 
thereto lay through Illy. Bazeilles, on the other hand, 
locally a very strong point of support to the Givonne 
front, constituted an acute salient, which, after the loss 
of the bridges across the Meuse, was open to attack on 
two sides. 

(September 1st.) 

In order, in co-operation with the Army of the 
Meuse, to hold fast the enemy in his position, General 
von der Tann sent his 1st Brigade over the pontoon- 
bridges against Bazeilles so early as four o'clock in a 
thick morning mist. The troops attacked the place, 
but now found the streets barricaded, and were fired on 
from every house. The leading company pressed on as 
far as to the northern egress, suffering great losses, 
but the others, while engaged in arduous street-fight- 
ing, were driven out of the western part of Bazeilles 
by the arrival of the 2nd Brigade of the French Xllth 
Corps. They however kept possession of the buildings 
at the southern end, and from thence issued to repeated 
assaults. As fresh troops were constantly coming up 
on both sides, the French being reinforced to the extent 
even of a brigade of the 1st and one of the Vth Corps, 
the murderous combat long swayed to and fro ; in 
particular the struggle for the possession of the Villa 


Beurmann, situated in front of the exit, and command- 
ing the main street throughout its whole length, lasted 
for a stricken hour. The inhabitants took an active 
part in the fighting, and so they inevitably drew fire 
upon themselves. 

The fire of the strong array of guns drawn up on the 
left slope of the valley of the Meuse naturally could not 
be directed on the surging strife in Bazeilles, which 
was now blazing in several places, but at eight o'clock, 
on the arrival of the 8th Prussian Division at Remilly, 
General von der Tann threw his last brigades into the 
fight. The walled park of the chateau of Monvillers 
was stormed and an entrance won into the Villa Beur- 
mann. The artillery crossed the bridges at about nine 
o'clock, and the 8th Division was requested to support 
the combat in which the right wing of the Bavarians was 
also engaged southward of Bazeilles about Moncelle. 1 

In this direction Prince George of Saxony 2 had so 
early as five o'clock despatched an advanced guard of 
seven battalions from Douzy. They drove the French 
from Moncelle, pressed ahead to Platinerie and the 
bridge there, and, in spite of the enemy's heavy fire, 
took possession of the houses bordering the further 
side of the Givonne brook, which they immediately 
occupied for defensive purposes. Communication with 
the Bavarians was now established, and the battery of 
the advanced guard moved up quickly into action on 
the eastern slope ; but a further infantry support could 
not at first be afforded to this bold advance. 

Marshal MacMahon had been struck by a splinter 
from a shell near Moncelle at 6 a.m. He had named 
General Ducrot as his successor in the chief command, 
passing over two senior Corps commanders. Apprized 
of this promotion at seven o'clock, that General issued 
the necessary orders for the prompt assemblage of the 
army at Illy, in preparation for an immediate retreat 

1 Moncelle is northward of Bazeilles. 

- Now commanding Xllth Corps, since his elder brother's appoint- 
ment to command of the Army of the Meuse. 


on Mezieres. He had already despatched Lartigue's 
Division of his own Corps to safeguard the crossing 
of the Givonne ravine at Daigny ; the Divisions of 
Lacretelle and Bassoigne were ordered to take the 
offensive against the Saxons and Bavarians, to gain 
time for the withdrawal of the rest of the troops. The 
divisions forming the second line were to start 
immediately in a northerly direction. 

But the Minister of War had appointed General de 
Wimpffen, recently returned from Algiers, to the com- 
mand of the Vth Corps in room of General de Failly, 
and had at the same time given him a commission 
empowering him to assume the command of the Army in 
case of the disability of the Marshal. 

General de Wimpffen knew the army of the Crown 
Prince to be in the neighbourhood of Donchery. He 
regarded the retreat to Mezieres as utterly impracticable, 
and was bent on the diametrically opposite course of 
breaking out to Carignan, not doubting that he 
could drive aside the Bavarians and Saxons, and so 
succeed in effecting a junction with Marshal Bazaine. 
When he heard of the orders just issued by General 
Ducrot, and at the same time observed that an 
assault on Moncelle seemed to be taking an auspicious 
course, he produced to his ruin the authoritative 
commission which had been bestowed on him. 

General Ducrot submitted without any remonstrance ; 
he might probably not have been averse to be relieved 
of so heavy a responsibility. The Divisions of the 
second line which were in the act of starting im- 
mediately were recalled ; and the further advance of 
the weak Bavarian and Saxon detachments was soon 
hard pressed by the impact of the first stroke of the 
enemy rushing on to the attack. 

By seven in the morning, while one regiment of the 
Saxon advanced guard had gone in upon Moncelle, 
the other on its right had to concern itself with the 
threatening advance of Lartigue's Division. With that 
body it soon became engaged in a heavy fire-fight. 


The regiment had laid down its packs on the march, 
and had omitted to take out the cartridges carried in 
them. Thus it soon ran short of ammunition, and the 
repeated and violent onslaughts of the Zouaves, directed 
principally against its unprotected right flank, had to 
be repulsed with the bayonet. 

On the left in this quarter a strong artillery line had 
gradually been formed, which by half-past eight o'clock 
amounted to twelve batteries. But Lacretelle's Divi- 
sion was now approaching by the Givonne bottom, 
and dense swarms of tirailleurs forced the German 
batteries to retire at about nine o'clock. The guns, 
withdrawn into a position at a somewhat greater 
distance, drove back with their fire the enemy in the 
hollow, and presently returned to the position pre- 
viously occupied. 

The 4th Bavarian Brigade had meanwhile pushed 
forward into Moncelle, and the 46th Saxon Brigade 
also came up, so that it was possible to check the 
trifling progress made by Bassoigne's Division. 

On the right flank of the Saxons, which had been 
hard pressed, much-needed supports now arrived from 
the 24th Division, and at once took the offensive. The 
French were driven back upon Daigny, with the loss 
of five guns. Then in conjunction with the Bavarians, 
who were pushing on through the valley to the north- 
ward, the village of Daigny, the bridge and the farm- 
stead of La Rapaille were carried after a bitter fight. 

About ten o'clock the Guard Corps reached the upper 
Givonne. Having started in the night, the Corps was 
marching in two columns, when cannon thunder from 
Bazeilles heard afar off caused the troops to quicken 
their pace. In order to render assistance by the 
shortest road, the left column would have had to 
traverse two deep ravines and the pathless wood of 
Chevallier, so it took the longer route by Villers 
Cernay, which place the head of the right column 
passed in ample time to take part with the Saxons in 


the contest with Lartigue's Division, and to capture 
two of its guns. 

The Divisions ordered back by General Ducrot had 
already resumed their former positions on the western 
slopes, and fourteen batteries of the Guard Corps now 
opened fire upon them from the east. 

At the same hour (ten o'clock) the 7th .Division of 
the IVth Corps had arrived near Lamecourt, and the 
8th near Remilly, both places rearward of Bazeilles ; 
the head of the latter had reached the Remilly railway 

The first attempt of the French to break out east- 
ward to Carignan proved a failure, and their retreat 
westward to Mezieres was also already cut off, for the 
Vth and Xlth Corps of the Illrd Army, together with 
the Wtirtemberg Division, had been detailed to move 
northward to the road leading to that place. These 
troops had started early in the night, and at six 
a.m. had crossed the Meuse at Donchery, and by the 
three pontoon bridges further down the river. The 
advanced patrols found the Mezieres road quite clear 
of the enemy, and the heavy cannonade heard from the 
direction of Bazeilles made it appear probable that the 
French had accepted battle in their position at Sedan. 
The Crown Prince, therefore, ordered the two Corps, 
which already had reached the upland of Vrigne, to 
swing to their right and advance on St. Menges ; the 
Wiirtembergers were to remain behind to watch 
Mezieres. General von Kirchbach then indicated 
Fleigneux to his advanced guard as the objective of 
the further movement, which had for its purpose the 
barring of the escape of the French into Belgium, and 
the establishment of a junction with the right wing of 
the Army of the Meuse. 

The narrow pass about 2000 paces long between the 
heights and the river traversed by the road to St. 
Albert, was neither held nor watched by the French. 
It was not till the advanced guard reached St. Menges 


that it encountered a French detachment, which soon 
withdrew. The German advance then deployed against 
Illy. Two companies moved to the right and took 
possession of Floing, where they maintained themselves 
for the next two hours without assistance against 
repeated attacks. 

The earliest arriving Prussian batteries had to exert 
themselves to the utmost to maintain themselves 
against the much superior strength of French artillery 
in action about Illy. At first they had for their only 
escort some cavalry and a few companies of infantry, 
and as these bodies debouched from the defile of St. 
Albert, they found themselves an enticing object of attack 
to Margueritte's Cavalry Division halted on the aforesaid 
plateau of Illy. It was at nine o'clock that General 
Galliffet rode down to the attack at the head of three 
regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique and two squadrons 
of Lancers formed in three lines. The first fury of the 
charge fell upon two companies of the 87th Regiment, 
which met it with a hail of bullets at sixty yards range. 
The first line charged some horse-lengths further 
forward, then wheeled outward to both flanks, and 
came under the fire of the supporting troops occupying 
the broom copses. The Prussian batteries, too, showered 
their shell fire into the throng of French horsemen, 
who filially went about in confusion, and, having suffered 
great losses, sought refuge in the Bois de Garenne. 

At ten o'clock, the same hour at which the assaults 
of the French on Bazeilles and about Daigny were 
being repulsed, fourteen batteries of the Xlth Corps 
were already in action on and near the ridge south- 
east of St.-Menges; to swell which mass presently 
came up those of the Vth Corps. Powerful infantry 
columns were in march upon Fleigneux, and thus the 
ring surrounding Sedan was already at this hour nearly 
closed. The one Bavarian Corps and the artillery re- 
serves on the left bank of the Meuse were considered 
strong enough to repel any attempt of the French to 


break through in that direction ; five Corps were on 
the right bank, ready for a concentric attack. 

The Bavarians and Saxons, reinforced by the head 
of the IVth Corps, issued from the burning Bazeilles 
and from Moncelle, and, in spite of a stubborn resist- 
ance, drove the detachments of the French Xllth Corps 
in position eastward of Balan back upon Fond de 

Once in possession of the southern spur of the ridge 
sloping down from Illy, and while awaiting the renewed 
attacks of the French, the extreme urgency was realized 
of reassembling the different Corps and of re-forming 
the troops, which had fallen into great confusion. 

As soon as this was done, the 5th Bavarian Brigade 
advanced on Balan. The troops found but a feeble 
resistance in the village itself ; but it was only after a 
hard fight that they succeeded in occupying the park 
of the chateau situated at its extreme end. From 
thence, soon after midday, the foremost battalion ex- 
tended close up to the walls of the fortress, and ex- 
changed shots with the garrison. There now ensued a 
stationary musketry fight with the enemy once again 
firmly posted about Fond de Givonne. At one o'clock 
the French, having evidently been reinforced, took the 
offensive, after a preparatory cannonade and mitrail- 
leuse fire. The 5th Bavarian Brigade was driven back 
for some considerable distance, but presently, supported 
by the 6th, regained its old position after an hours 
hard fighting. 

Meanwhile the Saxon Corps had extended itself in the 
northern part of the valley against Givonne. There 
also the foremost detachments of the Guard Corps were 
already established, as well as in Haybes. The Prussian 
artillery forced the French batteries to change their 
positions more than once, and had already caused 
several of them to go out of action. To gain breathing 
space here, the French repeatedly tried to send forward 
large bodies of tirailleurs, and ten guns were brought 


up into the still occupied Givonne, but these were 
taken before they could unlimber. The Prussian shells 
also fell with some effect among the French troops 
massed in the Bois de Garenne, though fired from a 
long distance. 

After the Franctireurs de Paris had been driven out 
of Chapelle, the Guard-cavalry dashed through Givonne 
and up the valley, and at noon the Hussars had suc- 
ceeded in establishing direct contact with the left flank 
of the Illrd Army. 

The 41st Brigade of that army had left Fleigneux 
and was descending the upper valley of the Givonne, 
and the retreat of the French from Illy in a southern 
direction had already begun. The 87th Regiment 
seized eight guns which were in action, and captured 
thirty baggage waggons with their teams, as well as 
hundreds of cavalry horses wandering riderless. The 
cavalry of the advanced guard of the Vth Corps also 
made prisoners of General Brahaut and his staff, besides 
a great number of dispersed infantrymen and 150 
draught-horses, together with forty ammunition and 
baggage waggons. 

In the direction of Floing there was also an attempt 
on the part of the French to break through ; but the 
originally very weak infantry posts at that point had 
gradually been strengthened, and the French were 
driven from the locality as quickly as they had entered. 
And now twenty-six batteries of the Army of the 
Meuse l crossed their fire with that of the Guard bat- 
teries, in position on the eastern slope of the Givonne 
valley. The effect was overwhelming. The French 
batteries were shattered and many ammunition waggons 

General de Wimpffen at first took the advance of 
the Germans from the north for nothing more than a 
demonstration, but toward midday became completely 

1 Sense and accuracy alike indicate that " Army of the Meuse " in 
text should be " Third Army," vi>le Staff History, part I. 2nd vol. 
pp. 361, 367, and 370. Clarke's authorized Trs. 


convinced that it was a real attack. He therefore 
ordered that the two Divisions of the 1st Corps halted in 
second line behind the Givonne front, should now return 
to the Illy height in support of General Douay. On 
rejoining the Xllth Corps he found it in full retreat 
on Sedan, and now urgently requested General Douay 
to despatch assistance in the direction of . Bazeilles. 
Maussion's Brigade did actually go thither, followed by 
Dumont's Division, which latter was relieved in the 
foremost line by Conseil Dumesnil's Division. All this 
marching and counter-marching was executed in the 
space south of the Bois de Garenne dominated by the 
cross fire of the German artillery. The recoil of the 
cavalry heightened the confusion, and several battalions 
drew back into the insecure protection of the forest. 
General Douay, it is true, reinforced by portions of the 
Vth Corps, retook the Calvary (of Illy), but was forced 
to abandon it by two o'clock ; and the forest (of 
Garenne) behind it was then shelled by sixty guns of 
the Guard artillery. 

Liebert's Division alone had up to now maintained 
its very strong position on the heights north of Casal. 
The amassing at Floing of a sufficient strength from 
the German Vth and Xlth Corps could only be effected 
very gradually. After one o'clock, however, detach- 
ments began to climb the steep hill immediately in its 
front, while others went round to the south towards 
Gaulier and Casal, and yet others came down from 
Fleigneux. The complete intermixture of the troops 
prevented any unity of command ; and a bloody contest 
was carried on for a long time with varying fortunes. 
The French Division, attacked on both flanks and also 
heavily shelled, at last had its power of resistance 
undermined ; and the reserves of the Vllth Corps 
having already been called off to other parts of the 
battle-field, the French cavalry once more devotedly 
struck in to maintain the fight. 

General Margueritte, with five regiments of light 
horse, and two of Lancers, charged to the rescue out of 


the Bois de Garenue. Almost at the outset he fell 
severely wounded, and General Galliffet took his place. 
The advance was over very treacherous ground, and 
even before the actual charge was delivered the cohe- 
sion of the ranks was broken by the heavy flanking fire 
of the Prussian batteries. Still, with thinned ranks but 
with unflinching resolution, the individual squadrons 
charged on the troops of the 43rd Infantry Brigade, partly 
lying in cover, partly standing out on the bare slope 
in swarms and groups ; and also on the reinforcements 
hurrying from Fleigneux. The first line of the former 
was pierced at several points, and a band of these 
brave troopers dashed from Casal through the intervals 
between eight guns blazing into them with case-shot, but 
the companies beyond stopped their further progress. 
Cuirassiers issuing from Gaulier fell on the hostile 
rear, but encountering the Prussian Hussars in the 
Meuse valley, galloped off northward. Other detach- 
ments cut their way through the infantiy as far as the 
narrow pass of St. Albert, where they were met by the 
battalions debouching therefrom. Others again entered 
Floing only to succumb to the 5th Jiigers, who had to 
form front back to back. These attacks were repeated 
by the French again and again in the shape of detached 
fights, and the murderous turmoil lasted for half an hour 
with steadily diminishing fortune for the French. The 
volleys of the German infantry delivered steadily at a 
short range strewed the whole field with dead and 
wounded horsemen. Many fell into the quarries or 
down the steep declivities, a few may have escaped by 
swimming the Meuse ; and scarcely more than half of 
these brave troops returned to the protection of the forest. 
But this magnificent sacrifice and glorious effort of 
the French cavalry could not change the fate of the 
day. The Prussian infantry had lost but little in the 
cut-and-thrust encounters, and at once resumed the 
attack against Liebert's Division. But in this on- 
slaught they sustained heavy losses ; for instance, all 


three battalions of the 6th Regiment had to be 
commanded by lieutenants. But when Casal had been 
stormed, the French, after a spirited resistance, with- 
drew at about three o'clock to their last refuge in the 
Bois de Garenne. 

When between one and two o'clock the fighting in 
Bazeilles had at first taken a favourable turn, General 
de WimpfFen reverted to his original plan of driving 
from the village the Bavarians, now exhausted by a 
long struggle, and of breaking a way through to 
Carignan with the 1st, Vth, and Xllth Corps ; while 
the Vllth Corps was to cover the rear of this movement. 
But the orders issued to that effect in part never 
reached the Corps ; in part did so so late that circum- 
stances forbade their being carried out. 

In consequence of previously mentioned orders, 
besides Bassoigne's Division, the Divisions of Goze 
and Grandchamp were still available. Now, at 
about three in the afternoon, the two last-named 
advanced from Fond de Givonne, over the ridge to the 
eastward, and the 23rd Saxon Division, which was 
marching up the valley on the left bank of the Givonne, 
found itself suddenly attacked by closed battalions ac- 
companied by batteries. "With the support of the left 
wing of the Guard Corps and of the artillery fire from 
the eastern slope, it soon succeeded in repulsing the 
hostile masses, and indeed drove them across the valley 
back to Fond de Givonne. The energy of the French 
appeared to be by this time exhausted, for they 
allowed themselves to be taken prisoners by hundreds. 
As soon as a firm footing had been gained on the 
heights west of the Givonne, the German artillery 
established itself there, and by three o'clock an artillery 
line of twenty-one batteries stretching from Bazeilles to 
Haybe's was in action. 

The Bois de Garenne, in which many broken bands 
of all Corps and of all arms were straggling in search 
of refuge, still remained to be gained. After a short 



cannonade the 1st Guard-Division climbed the 
heights from Givonne, and were joined by Saxon 
battalions, the left wing of the Illrd army at the 
same time coming on from Illy. A wild turmoil 
ensued, in which isolated bands offered violent resist- 
ance, while others surrendered by thousands ; nor was 
it until five o'clock that the Germans had complete 
possession of the forest. 

Meanwhile long columns of French could be seen 
pouring down on Sedan from the surrounding heights. 
Disordered bodies of troops huddled closer and closer 
in and up to the fortress, and shells from the German 
batteries on both sides of the Mouse were constantly 
exploding in the midst of the chaos. Pillars of fire were 
soon rising from the city, and the Bavarian riflemen, 
who had pushed forward through Torcy, were preparing 
to climb the palisades at the gate when, at about half- 
past four, the white flags were visible on the towers. 

The Emperor Napoleon had declined to follow 
General de Wimpffen in his attempt to break through 
the German lines ; he had, on the contrary, ordered 
him to enter into negotiations with the enemy. In 
consequence of the renewal of the order to that effect 
the French suddenly ceased firing. 

General Reille now made his appearance in the 
presence of the King, who had watched the action 
since early morning from the hill south of Fre"nois. 
He was the bearer of an autograph letter from the 
Emperor, whose presence in Sedan was till then un- 
known. He placed his sword in the hand of the 
King, but as this was clearly only an act of personal 
surrender, the answer stipulated that an officer should 
be commissioned with full powers to treat with General 
von Moltke as to the surrender of the French Army. 

This painful duty was imposed on General de 
Wimpffen, who was in no way responsible for the 
desperate straits into which the French army had been 


The negotiations were held at Donchery in the night 
between the 1st and 2nd September. On the part of 
the Germans it had to be insisted on that they durst 
not forego the advantages gained over so powerful an 
enemy as France. Since the French had regarded 
the victory of German arms over other nationalities 
in the light of an offence to France, any untimely 
generosity might cause them to forget their oAvn defeat. 
The only course to pursue was to insist upon the 
disarmament and captivity of their entire army, 
with the exception that the officers were to be free on 

General de Wimpffen declared it impossible to ac- 
cept conditions so hard, the negotiations were broken 
off, and the French officers returned to Sedan at one 
o'clock on the morning of the 2nd. Before their 
departure they were given to understand that unless 
the offered terms were accepted 'by nine o'clock that 
morning the artillery would reopen fire. 

The capitulation was signed by General de Wimpffen 
on the morning of the 2nd, further resistance being 
obviously impossible. 

Marshal MacMahon was very fortunate in having 
been disabled so early in the battle, else on him would 
have inevitably devolved the duty of signing the capi- 
tulation ; and though he had only carried out the 
orders forced upon him by the Paris authorities, he 
could hardly have sat in judgment, as he afterwards 
did, on the comrade he had failed to relieve. 

It is difficult to understand why we Germans cele- 
brate the 2nd of September a day on which nothing 
memorable happened, but what was the inevitable 
result of the previous day's work ; the day on which the 
army really crowned itself with glory was the 1st of 

The splendid victory of that day had cost the Germans 
460 officers and 8500 men. The French losses were far 
greater ; they amounted to 17,000 men, and were chiefly 

H 2 


wrought because of the full development of the fire 
of the German artillery. 

During the battle there 

were taken prisoners 21,000 
By the Capitulation 83,000 

A total of 104,000 sent into captivity. 

The prisoners for the present were assembled on the 
peninsula of Iges formed by the Meuse. As supplies 
for them were entirely lacking, the Commandant of 
Me*zieres permitted the unrestricted transport of pro- 
visions by the railway as far as Donchery. Two Army 
Corps were assigned to the duty of guarding and 
escorting the convoys of prisoners, who were sent off in 
successive bodies 2000 strong by two roads, one to 
Etain, and the other by Clermont to Pont a Mousson, 
where the prisoners were taken over by the army 
investing Metz, and forwarded to various parts of 

On Belgian territory 3000 men had been disarmed. 

The spoils of war taken at Sedan consisted of three 
standards, 419 field-pieces, 139 fortress guns, 66,000 
rifles, over 1000 waggons, and 6000 serviceable 

With the entire nullification of this army fell the 
Empire in France. 


WHILE one half of the German Army was thus engaged 
in a victorious advance, the other half remained station- 
ary before Metz. 

The foremost line of outposts of the investment 
embraced a circuit of more than twenty-eight miles. 
An attempt of the concentrated forces of the enemy 
to break through would have met at the beginning 
of the blockade with but slight opposition. It was 
therefore extremely urgent that the several posts 
should be strengthened by fortifications. These works, 
the clearing of the neighbouring battle-fields, the close 
watch kept over every movement of the enemy, the 
construction of a telegraph-line connecting the quarters 
of the several Staffs, and finally the erection of a suf- 
ficiency of shelter, kept the troops and their leaders 
amply occupied. Besides the care of the wounded, 
provision had to be made for the sick, whose number 
was daily increased by the unusually severe weather 
and lack of shelter. The provisioning of the troops 
was, however, facilitated by their stationary attitude, 
and in addition there now flowed in upon them from 
their homes a copious supply of love-gifts. 

The first days of the investment went by without 
any attempts to break out on the part of the French. 
They too were busy reorganizing, collecting ammu- 
nition and supplies. 

On the 20th of August Marshal Bazaine had 
written to Chalons : " I will give due notice of my 


march if, taking everything into consideration, I can 
undertake any such attempt." On the 23rd he reported 
to the Emperor : " If the news of the extensive re- 
ductions in the besieging army is confirmed, I shall set 
out on the march, and that by way of the northern 
fortresses, in order to risk nothing." 

(August 26th.) 

On the 26th of August, when the Army of Chalons 
was still nearly seventy miles distant from the Ardennes 
Canal, and its advance on Metz was as yet not generally 
known, Marshal Bazaine collected his main forces on 
the right bank of the Moselle. 

This movement had not escaped the notice of the 
German posts of observation, and the field-telegraph 
at once disseminated the infornmtion. 

To support the 3rd Reserve Division at Malroy, ten 
battalions of the Xth Corps crossed from the left bank 
of the Moselle to Argancy on the right bank. The 
25th Division held itself in readiness at the bridge of 
Hauconcourt, and the 1st Corps closed up towards 
Servigny. In the event of the success of a breach 
towards the north, the Illrd, IVth, and part of the IXth 
Corps were available to intercept the enemy's march 
about Thionville. 

The crossing from the island of Chambiere by the 
field-bridges which had been built, seriously delayed 
the French advance ; the Illrd, Ilnd, IVth, and Vlth 
Corps, however, by about noon stood closely concen- 
trated between Mey and Grimont. Advanced detach- 
ments had already at several points driven in the 


German posts south-east of Metz, but instead of now 
entering upon a general attack, Marshal Bazaine sum- 
moned all his Corps Commanders to a conference at 
Grimont. The Commandant of Metz then made it 
known that the artillery ammunition in hand would 
suffice for only one battle, that when it was exhausted 
the army would find itself defenceless in midst of the 
German hosts ; the fortress, he continued, was not 
defensible in its present state, and could not stand a 
siege if the army were to be withdrawn from the place. 
All those things might certainly have been seen into 
during the stay in Metz ; and much more did they 
behove to have been known before the army should 
cut loose. It was particularly enforced, " That the 
preservation of the Army was the best service that could 
be rendered to the country, more especially if negotia- 
tions for peace should be entered into." The generals 
present all spoke against the prosecution of the pro- 
posed movement ; and the Commander-in-Chief, who 
had refrained from expressing any opinion in the 
matter, gave the order to retire at four o'clock. 

The whole affair of the 26th of August can only be 
regarded in the light of a parade manoeuvre. Bazaine 
reported to the Minister of War that the scarcity of 
artillery ammunition made it " impossible " to break 
through the hostile lines, unless an offensive operation 
from the outside " should force the enemy to raise the 
investment." Information as to the " temper of the 
people " was earnestly requested. 

There is no doubt that Bazaine was influenced, not 
wholly by military, but also by political considera- 
tions ; still it may be asked whether he could have 
acted differently in the prevailing confusion of France. 
From the correspondence referred to, and his behaviour 
in the battles before Metz, his reluctance to quit the 
place was evident. Under its walls he could maintain 
a considerable army in unimpaired condition till the 
given moment. At the head of the only French army 


not yet shattered, 1 lie might find himself in a position 
of greater power than any other man in the country. 
This army must, of course, first be freed from the 
bonds which now confined it. Even if it should suc- 
ceed in forcibly breaking out it would be greatly 
weakened ; and it was not inconceivable that the 
Marshal, as the strongest power in the land, might be 
able to offer a price which should induce the enemy to 
grant him a passage. Then when at length the time 
for making peace should come, the Germans would no 
doubt ask : " Who in France is the authority with whom 
we can negotiate now that the Empire is overthrown, 
and who is strong enough to give a guarantee that the 
obligations which he will have undertaken shall be per- 
formed ? " That the Marshal, if his plans had come 
to fulfilment, would have acted otherwise than in the 
interest of France is neither proved nor to be assumed. 
But presently a number of men combined in Paris, 
who, without consulting the nation, constituted them- 
selves the Government of the country, and took the 
direction of its affairs into their own hands. In oppo- 
sition to this party, Marshal Bazaine, with his army at 
his back, could well come forward as a rival or a foe ; 
nay, and this was his crime in the eyes of the Paris 
Government he might restore the authority of the 
Emperor to whom he had sworn allegiance. Whether 
he might not thus have spared his country longer 
misery and greater sacrifices may be left undecided. 
But that he was subsequently charged with treason 
obviously arose, no doubt, from the national vanity of 
the French, which demanded a " Traitor " as a scapegoat 
for the national humiliation. 

Soon after this demonstration, for it was nothing 
more, of the besieged army, the investing forces were, 
in fact, reduced by the despatch, on the 29th, in ac- 
cordance with orders from the supreme Headquarter, 

1 The Army of Chalons was still unimpaired on August 26th. 


of the Ilnd and Illrd Corps to Briey and Conflans, there 
to remain. To be sure, from those positions it was in 
their power to attack either of the French Marshals, as 
might prove requisite ; while the XHIth Corps, newly 
formed of the 17th Division, hitherto retained to 
defend the coast, and from the Landwehr, was already 
within a short distance of Metz. 

Meanwhile Marshal Bazaine might have realized 
that he must abandon his delusion as to a release by 
means of negotiations ; and he now firmly resolved to 
cut his way out by dint of force. The troops were 
served out with three days' provisions, and the in- 
tendance was furnished with a supply of " iron rations " 
from the magazines of the fortress. That the attempt 
should again be made on the right bank of the Moselle 
was only to be expected ; since by far the larger portion 
of the enemy's forces stood entrenched on the left bank. 
It would have been very difficult to traverse that hilly 
region, intersected by deep ravines ; and finally the 
army of the Crown Prince on the march to Paris 
would have had to be encountered. East of Metz, on 
the other hand, there afforded ample space for the 
full development of the French forces. By bending of 
the south the open country was to be reached, offering 
no effective intercepting position to the enemy, whose 
line of investment was weakest in that direction. The 
march to the north and along the Belgian frontier 
entailed more danger and greater obstacles, yet the 
Marshal had explicitly indicated this particular road as 
that by which he intended to move. The Army of 
Chalons was also marching in that direction ; its 
approach was already reported ; and on the 31st of 
August, on which day, in fact, Marshal MacMahon's 
forces reached Stenay 1 in such disastrous circumstances, 
Bazaine's army also issued from Metz. 

1 "Stenay," probably a slip of the pen for "Sedan," where 
MacMahon's army was gathered on August 31st. It never reached 


(August 31st.) 

Of the French Corps then located on the right bank 
of the Moselle, 1 the Illrd was to cover on the right 
flank the advance of the others ; one Division was 
ordered to move early in a south-easterly direction 
with intent to mislead the enemy, its other three 
Divisions to take position threatening Noisseville. 
Three pontoon bridges were constructed for the cross- 
ing of the rest of the army, and accesses to the heights 
in front of St. Julien were prepared. The passage of 
the IVth and Vlth Corps was to begin at six o'clock, 
and they were to take a position which, linking on its 
right with the Illrd Corps, should extend from the 
village of Mey by Grimont to the Moselle ; the Ilnd 
Corps and the Guard were to follow and form a second 
line. With the passage of the artillery reserve and 
the cavalry it was expected that the crossing of the 
Moselle should be finished by ten o'clock ; the trains 
were halted on the Isle of Chambiere. Thus it was 
intended that by noon five Corps should be ready for 
the assault of the section of the line of investment from 
Retonfay (on the French right) to Argancy (on the left), 
a distance of about seven miles, which space had for its 
defenders only two German Divisions. 

So early as seven o'clock Montaudon's Division issued 
from Fort Queuleu, and heading eastward drove the 
opposing outposts back on Aubigny. But this demon- 
stration did not in the least deceive the Germans. 
The stir in the French camp had been observed quite 
early, and when the mist cleared off and great masses 
of French troops were seen in front of Fort St. 
Julien, an attempt to break through to the north 
was anticipated with certainty, and the necessary dis- 
positions were immediately undertaken to foil the 

1 The Ilnd and Illrd Army. 


The 28th Brigade of the Vllth Corps was dispatched 
to protect Courcelles, so that thus the 3rd Brigade of 
the 1st Corps could be brought nearer to Servigny. The 
troops of the Xth Corps which could be spared from 
their own section of the line of defence on the left bank 
were again set in motion to cross to the right, and the 
IXth Corps was held in readiness in anticipation of its 
having eventually to follow. The Illrd Corps and the 
1st Cavalry Division were recalled from Briey and 
directed to the plateau of Privat; the Ilnd was to 
stand ready to move off. 

The attempt of the French to break out proved on 
this day even less successful than on the 26th ; the 
IVth and Vlth Corps crossed each other at the bridges, 
and they only reached their rendezvous position at one 
o'clock, though it was little more than three miles 
further ; they then abandoned the intention of an imme- 
diate assault, and set about cooking. A few skirmishes 
on the east of Aubigny and on the north towards 
Rupigny came to nothing. The Imperial Guard did 
not come up till three o'clock, the artillery and cavalry 
were still behind. 

As entire quiescence now supervened, the Germans 
came to the conclusion that the attack must be intended 
for the following day. To save the strength of the 
troops, part of the reinforcements ordered up had 
already been sent back, when, at about four o'clock, 
the French suddenly opened a heavy artillery fire. 

The Marshal had again summoned his commanders 
to assemble at Grimont, this time to inform them of 
his dispositions for the attack. It was evident that the 
French could not advance towards the north until they 
had gained elbow-room by means of an offensive move- 
ment in the eastern direction, and had secured their 
right flank. For even if they succeeded in breaking 
through the Malroy-Charly line, they could get no 
further so long as the Germans were at Servigny and 
swept with their fire the plain as far as the Moselle, a 


space not more than 5000 paces broad. The Marshal 
could not in any case reckon on carrying through his 
Artillery Reserve, which did not reach the battle-field 
until six o'clock, and the extrication of the baggage 
trains which had been left behind on the Isle of 
Chambiere was clearly impossible. The Cavalry Corps 
was still defiling, and could not come up until nine 
o'clock in the evening. 

This unsatisfactory aspect of affairs was in complete 
accord with the character of the dispositions of the 
French commanders. 

Marshal Le Bceuf received orders to advance with 
the Ilnd and Illrd Corps on both sides of the valley of 
St. Barbe, and outflank from the south the 1st Prussian 
Division at Servigny, while the IVth Corps assailed it 
in front. The Vlth Corps had the task of thrusting 
forward against the Reserve Division at Charly-Malroy. 
Marshal Canrobert was to command the two latter 
Corps, and the Guard was to be held back as reserve. 

Thus General von Manteuffel had at first to confront 
with a small force a greatly superior enemy. This 
opposition might be undertaken either in the St. Barbe 
position, to outflank which was by no means easy, or on 
the line of Servigny Poix Failly, which, though more 
exposed, afforded much greater scope for the use of 
artillery. The latter position was chosen on the advice 
of General von Bergmann commanding the artillery, 
and the Landwehr Brigade was ordered into it from 
Antilly, where its place was taken by the 25th Division. 
Ten batteries were advanced to a distance of 1000 paces 
in front of the line of villages held by the infantry. 
Their fire proved so superior to that of the enemy, that 
the hostile batteries were soon silenced. The attack on 
Rupigny by the French IVth Corps, supported on the 
flank though it was by three batteries, remained 
stationary for a considerable time, and as the Prussians 
had not yet been driven back on St. Barbe, the Vlth 
French Corps meanwhile could not enter upon any 


serious attack on the Reserve Division at Malroy- 
Charly. For the same reason Marshal Canrobert re- 
ceived the order for the present only to send a 
detachment of his force to the attack of the village of 
Failly, the northern point of support of the Servigny 

Tixier's Division therefore moved out at 7.30 in the 
evening from Villers L'Orme, but met with a most 
obstinate resistance at Failly. Though attacked on two 
sides, pelted by a storm of projectiles, and, as regarded 
a part of them, engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, the 
East Prussians stoutly held possession of their ground 
till the Landwehr Brigade came to their assistance from 

Up till now the situation southward of Servigny had 
worn a more favourable aspect for the French than 
in this northern re-entering angle between two hostile 
positions ; their Ilnd and Illrd Corps in the former 
quarter had only the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Prussian 
Corps to deal with in front of Retonfay. Montaudon's 
and Metman's Divisions moved down by way of Nouilly 
into the valley of the Vallieres brook ; Clinchant's 
Brigade stormed the brewery in the face of strong 
resistance, and by seven o'clock the defenders of Noisse- 
ville were forced to evacuate the place. Montoy and 
Flanville were also taken possession of by the French, 
and further south the outposts of the German 4th Bri- 
gade were thrown back through Coincy and Chateau 
Aubigny. The batteries of the 1st Division, after en- 
during for a long time the fire of strong swarms of 
tirailleurs from the deep hollow south of them, were 
forced about seven o'clock to retire in echelon to the 
infantry position on the Poix Servigny line, fending off 
for a time the pursuing enemy with case-shot. 

But to this position the Prussians now held on 
staunchly, although completely out-flanked on their 
left. Potier's Brigade ascended the northern slope of 
the Vallieres valley, but found it impossible to reach 


Servigny. A moment later Cissey's Brigade rushed for- 
ward from the west, and seized the graveyard outside 
the village. The French IVth Corps struck at the centre 
of the Prussian position, but without success. Its effort 
to penetrate between Poix and Servigny was frustrated 
by the offensive stroke delivered by the battalions of the 
2nd Brigade constituting the last reserve a counter 
attack in which all the troops at hand at once joined. 
With drums beating they hurled themselves on the 
French, swept them out of the grave-yard, and drove 
them back down the slope. 

In support of the fierce fight here, the 3rd Brigade 
about half-past eight marched on Noisseville, whence 
it promptly expelled the small detachment found in 
possession, but subsequently yielded to superior num- 
bers, and withdrew to St. Marais. 

The din of strife had now fallen silent at all points, 
and the fight seemed to be ended. The infantry of the 
1st Division were moving into the villages, and the 
artillery was going into bivouac, when suddenly at nine 
o'clock a great mass of French infantry advanced in the 
darkness to an attack on Servigny. This proved to be 
Aymard's Division ; it entered the village without 
firing a shot, surprised the garrison, and drove it out 
after a fierce hand-to-hand fight. This episode re- 
mained unnoticed for a long time, even by the nearest 
troops ; but these then rushed to arms, and pouring in 
from all sides, drove the French back beyond the 
grave-yard, which thenceforth remained in German 

It was now ten o'clock at night. The 1st Division 
had kept its ground against an enemy of superior 
strength ; but the French had penetrated into the un- 
occupied gap between the 3rd and 4th Brigades, and 
were a standing menace to the German flank at Servigny 
from their position at Noisseville. 

September 1st. The 18th Division, by a night-march, 
crossed from the left to the right bank of the Moselle at 


four o'clock in the morning, and reinforced with a 
brigade both flanks of the line Malroy Charly Bois 
de Failly. The 25th Division was now able to fall back 
from Antilly to St. Barbe, where, with the 6th Landwehr 
Brigade, it formed a reserve for the Poix Servigny 

On the morning of the 1st of September a thick mist 
still shrouded the plain when all the troops stood to 

Marshal Bazaine now again indicated to his generals 
the seizure of St. Barbe as the prime objective, since 
that alone could render possible the march to the 
north ; and he added, " In the event of failure, we shall 
maintain our positions." This expression could only 
indicate the intention, in the event specified, of remain- 
ing under shelter of the cannon of Metz, and evinced 
but little confidence in the success of the enterprise 
now engaged in. 1 

So early as five o'clock the 3rd Brigade had deployed 
on the Saarlouis road to prevent the further progress 
of the enemy on the left flank of the 1st Division. It 
swept the slopes in the direction of Montoy with the 
fire of twenty guns, and when Noisseville had been 
well plied for a considerable time by the fire of the 
artillery of the 2nd Brigade, about seven o'clock the 
43rd Regiment carried the village by storm. A fierce 
fight ensued in and about the houses : two French 
brigades struck into the combat, and after a long whirl 
of fighting the German regiment was driven out again. 
Battalions of the 3rd Brigade came up just as the fight 
was over, but the attack was not renewed. 

Now that the direction of the French effort to break 
out was no longer doubtful, the 28th Brigade had 
started from Courcelles at six in the morning to rein- 

1 The wording of Bazaine's order dispenses with any specula- 
tion on this point. He wrote, " In the event of failure, we shall 
maintain our positions, strengthen ourselves therein, and retire in the 
evening under Forts St. Julien and Queuleu." 


force the 1st Corps. Its two batteries silenced those of 
the French at Montoy, and then directed their fire on 
Flanville. The enemy soon began to abandon the 
burning village, which, at nine o'clock, the Rhine- 
landers entered from the south and the East Prussians 
from the north. Marshal Le Boeuf again sent for- 
ward Bastoul's Division on Montoy, but the extremely 
effective fire of the Prussian artillery compelled it to 
turn back. 

The 3rd Brigade had meanwhile taken up a position 
on the upland of Retonfay, where it was now joined by 
the 28th. The 3rd Cavalry Division was reinforced by 
the Hessian Horse Brigade, and these troops with the 
artillery mass made up presently to 114 guns, formed 
a rampart against any further progress of the Ilnd and 
Illrd French Corps. 

The fighting had now died out on the right wing 
of the French army ; but the IVth Corps had been 
enjoined to await the direct advance of the troops of that 
wing before renewing its attack on the artillery-front 
and village entrenchments of the line from Servigny to 
Poix, whose strength had been proved on the previous 
day. But towards eleven o'clock, after Noisseville 
had been heavily bombarded, the 3rd Prussian Brigade, 
supported by the Landwehr, advanced southward of the 
position, pushed its attack against that point, and 
compelled the French to withdraw from the burning 

Marshal Canrobert, on the northern front of the 
sortie, had brought up his batteries at Chieulles by 
half-past eight, and their fire, seconded by that of the 
artillery of the fortress, caused a temporary evacuation 
of Rupigny ; but the village was soon reoccupied. 
Tixier's Division had made two fruitless attempts to 
seize Failly, and now, on the other hand, the 36th 
Brigade of the 18th Division came up, and taking the 
offensive in conjunction with the Reserve Division, at 
ten o'clock drove the French back over the Chieulles 


stream. They made still another onslaught on Failly, 
but the flanking fire made this also a failure. 

Marshal Le Boeuf, though he still had more than 
two Divisions to oppose it, held himself obliged to 
retreat on account of the approach of the Prussian 3rd 
Brigade on his right flank ; and in consequence of the 
receipt of this intelligence, Marshal Bazaineat mid-day 
ordered the fighting to be broken off at all other points. 

The Army of the Rhine which issued from Metz on 
August 31st, with a strength of 137,000 men, 1 had 
been successfully opposed by no more than 36,000 
Prussians. In this battle for the first time in the war 
the French were the assailants, the Germans had the 
role of the defence. That the Germans lost 3400 men 
against the loss of 3000 by the French, must be attri- 
buted to the higher properties of the infantry weapon 
of the latter. But the superiority of the Prussian 
artillery was decisively proved, and this it was which 
rendered possible General von Manteuffel's unshaken 

The Vllth Corps remained on the right bank of the 
Norelle, where the line of investment was now further 
strengthened by the arrival of the XHIth Corps under 
the command of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg. On 
the left bank the Ilnd and Illrd Corps were now able 
to return to their respective previous positions. On 
the same day and at about the same hour when the de- 
struction of one French army was completed at Sedan, 
the other was returning to an apparently more and more 
hopeless detention in Metz. Thus the issue of the war 
was already beyond doubt after a campaign of but two 
months' duration ; though the war itself was far from 
being ended. 

1 The estimate of the total strength of the Army of the Rhine 
on the 22nd August is given at 137,728 men in the German Staff 
History. It deducts for garrison and normal outpost-duty details 
amounting to over 17,000 men ; and reckons the marching out 
strength for the battle of 31st August 1st September at " about 
120,000 men." 




When, in the night of the 4th of September, the 
news of the disaster of Sedan and the Emperor's 
surrender became known in Paris, the Legislative Body 
met in a rapidly successive series of sittings for the pur- 
pose of selecting an Administrative Committee. The 
mob cut those deliberations short by forcing its way 
into the Chamber and proclaiming the Republic there 
and at the Hotel de Ville, amidst the acclamations of 
the people. Though the troops were under arms in 
their barracks, the Government till now in power 
offered no resistance ; the Empress left Paris ; General 
Trochu and several members of the Minority in the 
Chamber combined to form a Government, which they 
styled " The Government of National Defence and 
War." " War to the bitter end " was its motto, and 
the entire nation was to be called to arms. Not an inch 
of territory, not a stone of the fortresses was to be 
yielded up to the enemy. 

Such a Government, devoid of any legitimate founda- 
tion, necessarily thirsted for results, and could be little 
disposed to allow the war to end in peace. 

Notwithstanding all the early reverses of the war, 
France was too rich in resources to find herself as yet 
by any means defenceless. General Vinoy was still in 
the field. All the scattered Corps, the Marine troops 
and the Gendarmerie could gather to him. There was, 
too, the " Territorial Militia," numbering 468,000 men, 
an institution which the country owed to Marshal Niel, 
whose far-seeing work of reorganization had been cut 
short only too soon. Further, there was available 
to be called up the falling-due contingent of 100,000 
conscripts, as well as the National Guard. It fol- 
lowed that France was thus able to put into the field 
a million of men, without reckoning Franctireurs and 
Volunteer Corps. The reserve store of 2000 guns and 
400,000 Chassepots assured the means of armament, 


and the workshops of neutral England were ready and 
willing to fulfil commissions. Such resources for war, 
backed by the active patriotism of the nation, could 
maintain a prolonged resistance if a master will 
should inspire it with energy. 

And such a will was disclosed in the person of 

Minister of War, he had at the same time, by the 
French system of government, the direction of military 
operations, and certainly he was not the man to loosen 
his grasp of the chief command. For in a Republic, a 
victorious general at the head of the Army would at once 
have become Dictator in his stead. M. de Freycinet, 
another civilian, served under Gambetta as a sort of 
Chief of the General Staff, and the energetic, but dilet- 
tante, commandership exercised by these gentlemen cost 
France very dear. Gambetta's rare energy and unre- 
lenting determination availed, indeed, to induce the 
entire population to take up arms, but not to direct 
these hasty levies with comprehensive unity of purpose. 
"Without giving them time to be trained into fitness for 
the field, with ruthless severity he despatched them 
into the field in utter inefficiency as they were called 
out, to attempt the execution of ill-digested plans 
against an enemy on whose firm solidity all their 
courage and devotion was inevitably wrecked. He 
prolonged the struggle at the cost of heavy sacrifices 
on both sides, without turning the balance in favour of 

In any event the German chiefs had still great diffi- 
culties to overcome. 

The battles already won had cost heavy losses ; in 
officers especially the losses were irreparable. Half the 
army was detained before Metz and Strasburg. The 
transport and guarding of already more than 200,000 
prisoners required the services of a large part of the 
new levies being formed at home. The numerous 
fortresses had not indeed hindered the invasion of the 

i 2 


German army, but they had to be invested or kept 
under observation to secure the rearward communica- 
tions, and to safeguard the forwarding and victualling 
of troops ; and each further advance into the enemy's 
country involved increased drafts of armed men. After 
the battle of Sedan only 150,000 men were available for 
further operations in the field. There could be no 
doubt that the new objective must be Paris, as the seat 
of the new Government and the centre of gravity, so to 
speak, of the whole country. On the very day of the 
capitulation of Sedan, all the dispositions were made 
for the renewal of the advance. 

To spare the troops, the movement was to be carried 
out on a very broad front, which involved no risk, for 
of the French Corps, the XHIth alone could possibly 
cause any detention. And, indeed, only Blanchard's 
Division of that Corps was now at Mezieres ; its other 
two Divisions had but just begun their march when they 
received orders to halt preparatory to returning (to 


General Vinoy's most urgent anxiety was very 
rightly to reach Paris with the least possible loss. 
This was not very easy to accomplish, since the Vlth 
Prussian Corps, which had taken no part in the battle 
of Sedan, was at Attigny in such a position that as a 
matter of distance, as far as to Laon, it could reach any 
point of any line of the enemy's retreat before, or as 
soon as the latter. General von Tiimpling, commanding 
that Corps, had already taken possession of Rethel 
with the 12th Division by the evening of September 
1st, thus closing the high-road to Paris. Only extra- 
ordinary forced inarching and a succession of fortunate 


circumstances could save from destruction Blanchard's 
Division, which had already wasted its ammunition in 
small conflicts. 

General Vinoy supplied the troops with several days' 
rations, enjoined the strictest discipline on the march, 
and during the night between 1st and 2nd September 
set out on the road to Rethel, where he expected to 
find ExeVs Division ; which, however, availing itself of 
the section of railway still undestroyed, had already 
gone back to Soissons. 

It was still early morning (of 2nd) when the French 
column of march came in contact with the 5th and 
presently with the 6th Prussian Cavalry Divisions, 
without, however, being seriously attacked. It was not 
till about ten o'clock, and within about seven miles of 
Rethel, that the French general learnt that place was 
in hostile possession, whereupon he decided on turning 
westward to Novion Porcien. He sent his rear-guard 
against the enemy's horse-artillery, but seeing hardly 
anything but cavalry in its front, it soon resumed the 
march. At about four in the afternoon the Division 
reached Novion, where it went into bivouac. 

General von Hoffmann (commanding the 12th 
Prussian Division) had taken up a position at Rethel, 
and was awaiting the enemy, of whose approach he 
had been warned. Having ridden out in person, he 
became aware of Vinoy 's deviation from the Rethel road, 
and at four in the afternoon marched to Ecly, where 
he arrived late in the evening. Part of his troops 
scouted forward toward Chateau Porcien. 

General Vinoy, on learning that this road, too, was 
closed to him, quited his bivouac again at half-past one 
on the morning (of 3rd), leaving his fires burning, and 
set out on a second night-march in pouring rain and 
total darkness. 

At first he took a northerly direction, to reach Laon 
at worst by the byways. By tracks fathomless in mud, 
and with frequent alarms, but without being reached 


by the enemy, he trudged into Chateau Porcien at 
half-past seven on the morning of the 3rd, and there 
halted for a couple of hours. The trend of the roads 
now compelled him again to take a southerly direction, 
and when the head of his column reached S'draincourt, 
the sound of firing told him that his rear had been 
attacked by the Germans. 

The Prussian cavalry had, early the same morning, 
discovered the French departure, but this important 
information found General von Hoffmann no longer in 
Ecly. He had already started thence to search for the 
enemy at Novion-Porcien, where he might well be 
expected to be after his first night-march, but at half- 
past nine the Prussian general found the place empty. 
Thus, that morning, the German and French Divisions 
had marched past each other in different directions at 
a distance apart of little more than four miles. The 
thick weather had prevented them seeing each other. 
General Vinoy this day reached Montcornet, in what 
plight may be imagined. The 12th Division continued 
its pursuit in the westerly direction, but came up 
only with the rear stragglers of the fast-retreating 
enemy, and took up alarm-quarters in Chaumont 

This march of the enemy ought not indeed to have 
remained unobserved and unchecked under the eye of 
two Cavalry Divisions, but it has to be said that these 
were called off at an unfortunate moment. 

It was, in fact, in consequence of a report that the 
French forces were assembled at Rheims, that the 
Headquarter of the Illrd Army had ordered the 
immediate return of the Vlth Corps and the two Divi- 
sions of cavalry. These at once relinquished the 
pursuit, and General von Tiimpling ordered his two 
Infantry Divisions to march at once on Rheims. The 
llth, which had been holding Rethel, set out forthwith. 
General von Hoffmann, on the contrary, followed up the 
French, on his own responsibility, as far as was possible 


without cavalry to overtake them. Not till the follow- 
ing day did the 12th Division reach the Suippe. 

September 4th. General Vinoy made his way north- 
ward again, by way of Marie, where he received the news 
of the Emperor's surrender and of the outbreak of the 
revolution in Paris. His presence there was now of 
the greatest importance, and on the 13th> he reached 
the French capital with the two other divisions of his 
Corps from Laon and Soissons. 


During these occurrences the German armies, on the 
4th September, had begun their advance on Paris. 
The first thing to be done was to disentangle the mass 
of troops assembled in the cramped space around Sedan. 
The Illrd Army, of which the Xlth and the 1st 
Bavarian Corps were still remaining there, had to 
make two long marches forward in order that the 
Army of the Meuse should regain its line of supply 

The news of a great assemblage of French troops at 
Rheims soon proved to be unfounded. Early on the 
4th, detachments of Prussian horse entered the hostile 
and excited city, the llth Division arrived that after- 
noon, and on the following day the German King's 
head- quarters were established in the old city where 
the French Kings had been wont to be crowned. 

On the 10th of September the Illrd Army had 
reached the line Dormans Sezanne, and the Vlth Corps 
had pushed forward to Chateau Thierry. The Army 
of the Meuse, after the failure of a coup-de-rnain on 
Montmedy, was advancing between Rheims and Laon. 


Cavalry sent far in advance covered this march executed 
on a front so exceptionally broad. The scouts every- 
where found the inhabitants in a very hostile temper ; 
the franctireurs attacked with great recklessness, and 
had to be driven out of several villages by dismounted 
troopers. The roads were in many places wrecked by 
the tearing up of the stone pavement, and the bridges 
were blown up. 

On the approach of the 6th Cavalry Division Laon 
had capitulated. Small detachments of troops of the 
line were taken prisoners, 25 guns, 100 stores of arms 
and ammunition were seized as prizes, and 2000 
Gardes-Mobiles were dismissed to their homes on 
parole to take no further part in the war. While 
friends and foes were assembled in large numbers in 
the courtyard of the citadel, the powder-magazine 
blew up, having probably been intentionally fired, and 
did great damage both there and in the town. The 
Prussians had fifteen officers and ninety-nine men killed 
and wounded ; among the wounded were the Division- 
Commander and his general-staff officer. The French 
lost 300 men ; the commandant of the fortress was 
mortally wounded. 

On the 16th the Army of the Meuse was between 
Nanteuil and Lizy-on-Ourcq ; the 5th Cavalry Division 
had advanced to Dammartin ; the 6th to beyond Beau- 
mont, sending patrols up to before St. Denis. The 
Illrd Army was spread over the area from Meaux to 
Compte Robert. Strong military bridges had been 
thrown over the Marne at Trilport and Lagny to 
replace the permanent ones which had been blown up, 
and on the 17th the Vth Corps reached the Upper 

To secure the draw-bridges at Villeneuve St. Georges, 
the 17th Brigade pushed on down the right bank of the 
Seine towards Paris, and at Mont Mesly it encountered 
ExeYs Division, which had been sent out by General 
Vinoy to bring in or destroy stores of supplies. The 


fight which ensued ended in the French being driven 
back under shelter of Fort Charenton. 

The Ilnd Bavarian Corps also reached the Seine on 
this day and bridged the river at Corbeil. The 2nd 
Cavalry Division was in observation in front of Saclay, 
towards Paris. The Royal head-quarter moved to 
Meaux by way of Chateau Thierry. The complete 
investment of the French capital was now imminent. 

The works constructed under Louis Philippe effec- 
tually protected the city from being taken by storm. 
The artillery armament of the place consisted of over 
2627 pieces, including 200 of the largest calibres of naval 
ordnance. There were 500 rounds for each gun, and 
in addition a reserve of three million kilogrammes of 
powder. As concerned the active strength of the 
garrison, besides the Xlllth Corps which had returned 
from Me"zieres, a new Corps, the XlVth, had been 
raised in Paris itself. These 50,000 troops of the line, 
14,000 highly efficient and staunch marines and sailors, 
and about 8000 gensd'armes, customs officers, and 
forest-guards, formed the core of the defence. There 
were besides 115,000 Gardes-Mobiles, who had been 
drawn in from outside at an earlier date. The National 
Guard Avas formed into 130 battalions, which, however, 
.being defective in equipment and poorly disciplined, 
could be employed only in the defence of the inner 
circle of fortifications. The volunteers, though 
numerous, proved for the most part useless. 

In all the besieged force was over 300,000 strong, 
thus it was far more than double the strength of the 
besiegers as yet on the spot, of whom there were at 
the outside only about 60,000 men available, with 5000 
cavalry and 124 field-batteries. On the Seine the 
defence had five floating batteries and nine section-built 
gun-boats originally intended for the Rhine ; on the 
railways were some guns mounted on armour-plated 

Great difficulties necessarily attended the victualling 


of two million human beings for a long period ; how- 
ever, the authorities had succeeded in gathering into 
Paris 3000 oxen, 6000 swine, and 180,000 sheep, with 
considerable stores of other provisions, so that perfect 
confidence was justifiable, that Paris could hold out for 
six weeks at least. 

Orders issued from the head-quarter at Meaux 
charged the Army of the Meuse with the investment 
of the capital on the right bank of the Seine and 
Marne, 1 and the Illrd Army with the section on the 
left bank of both rivers. As a general rule the troops 
were to remain beyond range of the fire of the fortress, 
but, short of that, were to keep as close as possible so 
as to curtail the circuit of environment. The close 
connection of the two armies was to be secured above 
Paris by several bridges across both the rivers, and 
below the city, by the cavalry occupying Poissy. To 
the Illrd Army was to belong the duty of recon- 
noitring in the direction of Orleans. In case of any 
attempt to relieve the capital it was to allow the 
relieving force to approach within a short distance, and 
then, leaving the investment to be maintained by 
weak details, to strike the enemy with its main body. 

Without relief from outside, a close passive blockade 
must inevitably result in the capitulation of Paris, 
though probably not for some weeks or even months. 
As an ultimate compulsory measure there remained 
recourse to a bombardment. 

At the time when Paris was fortified it was not 
foreseen that improvements in the artillery arm would 
double or treble the range of fire. The exterior forts, 
especially on the south, were at so short a distance 
from the enceinte that the city could easily be reached 
by the fire of heavy batteries. 

The Germans have been blamed for not having had 
recourse at an earlier date to this expedient of bom- 

1 Viz., from the Marne above Paris in a wide half-circle to 
the Seine below it. The rayon of the Army of the Meuse subse- 
quently extended to the right bank of the Seine above Paris. 


bardment ; but this criticism indicates an inadequate 
appreciation of the difficulties which stood in the way 
of its earlier execution. 

It may safely be accepted that the attack of a large 
fortified place in the heart of an enemy's country is 
simply impossible so long as the invader is not master 
of the railways or waterways leading to it x by which 
may be brought up in full quantity the requisite 
material. The conveyance of this by the ordinary 
highways, even for a short distance, is in itself a 
herculean undertaking. Up to this time the German 
army had the control of only one railway in French 
territory, and this was fully occupied in the mainte- 
nance of supplies for the armies in the field : in bring- 
ing up reinforcements and equipment ; in conveying 
rearward wounded, sick and prisoners. But even this 
much of railway service ended at Toul ; and the 
attempt to turn that fortress by laying a temporary 
section of line found insurmountable difficulties in the 
nature of the ground. Further forward there inter- 
posed itself a scarcely inferior obstacle in the complete 
destruction of the Kanteuil tunnel, to repair which 
would probably require weeks. 

Even then, for the further transport from Nanteuil 
up to the Paris front of 300 heavy guns with 500 
rounds for each gun, there were requisite 4500 four- 
wheeled waggons, such as were not in use in the 
country, and 10,000 horses. Thus a bombardment was, 
in the earlier period, not to be thought of, and in any 
case the object of it would not be to destroy Paris, but 
merely to exert a final pressure on the inhabitants ; and 
this influence would be more effectual when a long 
blockade had shaken the resolution of the besieged than 
it was likely to be at the beginning of the investment. 

September 18th. Corresponding directions commu- 
nicated to the respective army commands, ordered 
the resumption of the march on the enemy's capital. 

On the 18th the Army of the Meuse, sAvinging left- 
ward, had the Xllth Corps at Claye, the Guard Corps 


at Mitry, and the IVth Corps at Dammartin, one march 
from Paris. 

All the villages in front of St. Denis were occupied 
by the French. It seemed as if the investment on the 
north front of Paris would be resisted, and the Crown 
Prince of Saxony took measures for next day to follow 
up and support the IVth Corps, which led the advance. 
The 5th and 6th Cavalry Divisions, hastening on to 
Pontoise, were given two companies of Jagers and a 
pontoon train, and after a bridge had been laid they 
crossed the Oise. 

The Vth Corps of the Illrd Army passed over the 
Seine at Villeneuve-St.-Georges and advanced to 
Palaiseau and the Upper Bievre. The advanced guard 
came into collision with Bernis' French Cavalry Brigade. 
The 47th Regiment at once proceeded to the attack, 
and stormed the walled farmsteads of Dame Rose and 
Trivaux. But on the southern skirt of the forest of 
Meudon the whole of the French XlVth Corps was 
drawn up ; on its left stood a Division of the XHIth 
Corps. The regiment retired on Petit Bicetre without 
being followed, and there took up a defensive posi- 

The Ilnd Bavarian Corps marched from Corbeil by 
Longjumeau on a parallel front with the Vth Corps, 
and on the right the Vlth occupied both banks of the 
Seine. These Corps, too, had several brushes with the 

The Wurtemberg Division at Lagny and Goumay 
was to cross the Marne forthwith, and so establish 
communication between the two armies. 

(September 19th.) 

On the 19th September the IVth Corps met with 
no opposition in its advance to St. Brice ; it drove de- 


tachments of the enemy from the neighbouring villages 
back under cover of the heavy guns of St. Denis, and 
pushed forward towards the Lower Seine. The Guard 
Corps followed it as far as Dugny, and lined the 
Moree brook, which was dammed up at its mouth, and 
afforded useful cover for the line of investment along 
a considerable distance. Further to the left the Xllth 
Corps took up a position extending to the Marne, and 
on the left bank of that river the Wiirtemberg Division 
advanced to Champigny. 

On this day the Vth Corps of the Illrd Army 
marched on Versailles in two colunms. The 47th 
Regiment had again the duty of covering the march 
along the hostile front. The French evidently were 
anxious to remain masters of the important heights in 
front of the fortifications of Paris, and in the early 
morning two divisions of their XlVth Corps marched 
out of the neighbouring forest of Meudon against Petit 
Bicetre and Villacoublay. Supported by a numerous 
artillery, which set on fire the farm-buildings of Petit 
Bicetre, they drove back the German outposts ; but 
reinforcements from the Vth Corps presently came 
up to Villacoublay, and to Abbaye aux Bois from the 
Ilnd Bavarian Corps. 

The left brigade of the latter had crossed the 
columns marching on Versailles in the valley of the 
Bievre ; but the sound of fighting from the field of 
strife induced General von Dietl l to advance with his 
detachments as they came up singly, on both sides of 
the high-road to Bicetre. A conjunct assault with the 
Prussians still fighting in the Bois de Garenne, was 
successful in repulsing the French at Pave blanc. 
Meanwhile the enemy by half-past eight had formed an 
artillery front of fifty guns, and three regiments of 
march advanced to renew the attack on Petit Bicetre 
and the Bois de Garenne. They were received with 
a destructive musketry fire, and not even General 
1 Commanding 1st Bavarian Infantry Brigade. 


Ducrot's personal influence could persuade the troops, 
who were young recruits, to go forward. The Zouaves 
posted about the farm of Trivaux were finally thrown 
into such confusion by some shells falling among them 
that they hurried back to Paris in headlong flight. 

General Ducrot had to abandon his attempt. His 
Divisions retired in evident disorder on Clamart and 
Fontenay, under cover of the artillery and of the 
cavalry, which had resolutely endured the hostile fire ; 
pursued at their heels by the German troops. The 
Bavarians stormed Pave* blanc under a heavy cannon 
fire ; the Prussians retook Dame Rose after a trivial 
skirmish, and pushed on past the farm of Trivaux into 
the forest of Meudon. The French still held the 
heights of Plessis-Piquet, which were to them of vast 
importance and very easy of defence, as well as the 
redoubt at Moulin de la Tour, where nine field-batteries 
at once came into action, the fire from which com- 
manded the whole of the western field of operations. 

The main body of the Bavarian Corps had mean- 
while moved southward, and during its advance on 
Fontenay aux Roses, about nine o'clock, it came under 
a hot fire from the height, as well as a flanking fire 
from a redoubt near Hautes Bruyeres. Being in- 
formed of the situation at the scene of conflict on the 
plateau of Bicetre, General von Hartmann (the Corps 
Commander) at once sent thither an artillery reinforce- 
ment, and ordered the 5th Brigade to attempt a junction 
to his left by way of Malabry. As soon as this brigade 
had deployed under a hot Chassepot and artillery fire 
between Pave* blanc and Malabry, General von Walther 
(commanding 3rd Bavarian Division) passed to the 
attack of Plessis-Piquet. The artillery advanced to a 
short distance on the hither side of the park wall, and 
then the infantry broke out from the wood of Verrieres, 
and, after a brief but sharp struggle, took possession of 
the mill lying to the southward. After half an hour's 
artillery preparation, the Bavarians advanced on Hach- 


ette by rushes, and broke into the park of Plessis. The 
French kept up a hot fire from the redoubt of Moulin 
de la Tour on the localities wrenched from them, by 
which the Bavarian field batteries suffered severely; 
but they still effectively supported the further advance 
of the infantry, who now got close in under the earth- 
works. However, the defenders were already on the 
point of retiring, and when about three o'clock one 
Bavarian company entered, it found the place deserted 
and the guns left in position. 

Caussade's Division had left Clamart and was on the 
way to Paris ; Maussion's had abandoned the heights of 
Bagneux on the pretence of having received mistaken 
orders, and Hughes' Division was with difficulty brought 
to a halt under cover of Fort Montrouge. 

The Bavarian Corps now took up the position it had 
won on the plateau of Bicetre to the right of the Vth 
Corps. The fight had cost the former 265 men and the 
latter 178 ; the French lost 661 kiUed and above 300 

The condition in which the French XlVth Corps 
returned to Paris caused such dismay that General 
Trochu found himself obliged to withdraw a Division 
of the XHIth from Vincennes for the defence of the 

It was subsequently argued that it would have 
been possible to capture one of the forts on this 
day by forcing an entrance along with the fugitive 
enemy, with the result of materially shortening 
the siege. But the forts did not need to open their 
gates to shelter fugitives, to whom those of the 
capital stood open. The escalade of masonry es- 
carpments eighteen feet high can never be successful 
without much preparation. Ventures of this character 
are rarely ordered by superior authority ; but can be 
attempted only in a propitious moment by those on the 
spot. In this case probable failure Avould have en- 
dangered the important success of the day. 


The Vth Corps had meanwhile proceeded on its march 
to Versailles ; a few National Guards, who had collected 
at the entrance to the town, were driven off or dis- 
armed by the German Hussars. The 9th Division 
held the eastern exits of the town, the 10th en- 
camped at Rocquencourt, and strong outposts were 
pushed out on the Bougival Sevres line. The 18th 
Brigade, which remained at Villacoubay to support the 
Bavarians in case of need, did not reach Versailles 
until the evening. 

The 3rd Bavarian Division remained on the heights 
in front of Plessis Piquet, its outposts confronting the 
forest of Meudon, where the French were still in posses- 
sion of the chateau ; and the pioneers at once altered 
the redoubt of La Tour du Moulin so as to front north. 
The 12th Division was encamped at Fontenay and 
rearward as far as Chatenay. 

The main body of the Vlth Corps had taken position 
at Orly, its outposts extending from Choisy le Roi past 
Thiais to Chevilly. Maud'huy's Division attempted to 
drive in the outpost line at the last-named village, but 
without success. A brigade of the same Corps at 
Limeil, on the right bank of the Seine, was engaged in 
skirmishing with the French at Cre"teil. Within touch, 
further to the right, the Wiirtemberg Division held the 
(left) bank of the Marne from Ormesson to Noisy le 
Grand, behind which latter place the pontoon bridge 
near Gournay assured communication with the Saxon 

Thus on the 19th of September the investment of 
Paris was complete on all sides. Six Army Corps 
stood in a deployment some fifty miles in circum- 
ference immediately in front of the enemy's capital, 
in some places actually within range of his guns, its 
rear guarded by a large force of cavalry. 



In full expectation of a battle to the north of Paris, 
the King had ridden out to join the Guard Corps, and 
in the evening his head-quarters were moved to 

Here thus early Monsieur Jules Favre made his 
appearance to negotiate for peace on the basis of " not 
one foot of soil." He believed that after all their 
victories and losses, the Germans would come to terms 
on payment of a sum of money. It was self-evident 
that such a proposal could not be taken into considera- 
tion, and only the eventuality of granting an armistice 
was seriously discussed. 

It was in the political interest of Germany as well, 
to afford the French nation the possibility of establish- 
ing by its own free and regular election a government 
which should have full right to conclude a peace 
creditable to the people ; for the self-constituted de 
facto Government ruling in Paris was the offspring of 
a revolution, and might at any moment be removed by 
a counter-revolution. 

From a military point of view it was true that any 
pause in the active operations was a disadvantage. It 
would afford the enemy time to push forward his pre- 
parations, and by raising for a time the investment of 
Paris would give the capital the opportunity to repro- 
vision itself at discretion. 

The armistice could, therefore, only be granted in 
consideration of a corresponding equivalent. 

To secure the subsistence of the respective German 
armies, Strasburg and Toul, which now intercepted the 
railway communication, must be given over. The 
siege of Metz was to be maintained ; but with regard to 
Paris, either the blockade was to continue ; or, if it were 
raised, one of the forts commanding the capital was to 
be occupied by the Germans. The Chamber of De- 



puties was to be allowed to meet at Tours in full 

These conditions, especially the surrender of the 
fortified places, were absolutely rejected on the French 
side, and the negotiations were broken off. Eight days 
later Toul and Strasburg were in the hands of the 

(September 23rd.) 

As soon as the German coast seemed no longer 
threatened by the danger of a landing of French troops, 
the 17th Division, which had been left behind there, 
was ordered to join the army in France. It arrived 
before Toul on September 12th. 

This place, in itself exempt from capture by storm 
but commanded by neighbouring heights, had till now 
been invested by Etappen troops of the Illrd Army, 
and shelled by the guns taken at Marsal and with field- 
guns, but without any particular effect. The infantry 
on the other hand had established a footing behind 
the railway embankment and in the suburbs close up to 
the foot of the glacis, so that sorties by the garrison were 
rendered almost impossible. In view of these circum- 
stances half the Division was presently sent to Chalons, 
where sixteen battalions and fifteen squadrons barely 
sufficed to deal with the extremely hostile attitude of 
the people, hold the Etappen-lines and safeguard the 
communication with Germany. Thus only seven 
battalions, four squadrons, and four field-batteries re- 
mained before Toul. 

On the 18th there arrived from Nancy by railway 
ten 15 cm. and sixteen 12 cm. siege guns. The in- 


tention was to attack the western face, which was 
enfiladed from Mont St. Michel, and then to breach the 
south-west bastion ; but first an (unsuccessful) attempt 
was made to reduce the place by the shorter process of 
subjecting it to a bombardment with field artillery. 

On the night of the 22nd battery-emplacements for 
the siege artillery were constructed by the infantry ; 
three on Mont St. Michel, seven on the heights on the 
left bank of the Moselle, and one on the right bank. 
Next morning sixty-two guns opened fire, and at half- 
past three in the afternoon the white flag was hoisted 
on the Cathedral. 

The handing over of the place followed the same 
day (23rd), on the conditions as had been granted 
at Sedan. A hundred and nine officers were released 
on parole, 2240 rank and file were taken prisoners. 
Six companies took possession the same evening of the 
city, which on the whole had suffered little. 

Twenty-one heavy guns, about 3000 stand of arms, 
and large stores of provisions and forage were the prizes 
of success. 

(September 28th.) 

Immediately after the victory of Worth, the re- 
duction of Strasburg became a primary object. This 
strong fortified position, bridge-head as it was com- 
manding the Rhine, was a standing menace to Southern 

When Marshal MacMahon evacuated Alsace, only 
three battalions of the line were left with the com- 
mandant of Strasburg. But with stragglers from the 
various regiments engaged at Worth, with sundry 

K 2 


fourth battalions and reserve detachments, and finally 
with Mobiles and National Guards, the strength of the 
garrison had increased to 23,000 men. There was a 
complete absence of engineer troops, but 130 marines 
formed an excellent nucleus ; the armament of the 
fortress was also ample. 

So early as on the 1 1th August the Baden Division had 
been detailed to observe Strasburg. Notwithstanding 
the smallness of its force the Division had advanced 
unchecked by the enemy on the Ruprechtsau as 
far as the Rhine-and-IU Canal; had occupied the 
village of Schiltigheim, almost within rifle-shot of the 
fortifications : and, having promptly prepared it for 
defence, pushed forward into the suburb of Konig- 

In the course of eight days there arrived, under the 
command of General von Werder, the Guard Landwehr 
and 1st Reserve Divisions, and one cavalry brigade, in 
all 46 battalions, 24 squadrons, and 18 field-batteries ; 
as well as a siege-train of 200 rifled cannon and 88 
mortars, with 6000 foot artillerymen and ten companies 
of fortress-pioneers ; a total strength of 40,000 men. 

The unloading of the guns brought from Magdeburg, 
Coblentz, and Wesel was begun on August 18th at the 
railway station of Vendenheim, by a detachment of the 
Railway Battalion. 

The engineer-depot was established at Hausberge, 
a wagon-park at Lampertsheim, and provision made 
for permanent magazines. A complete blockade was 
established, and the field- telegraph kept up communica- 
tion between all the posts. 

To attain the desired end with the least possible 
delay, an attempt was made, contrary to the advice of 
General of Engineers Schultz, though with the sanction 
of the supreme Head-quarter, to force the town to 
surrender by stress of a bombardment. The request 
that the women and children should be allowed to 
withdraw was necessarily refused. 


The erection of the batteries for the bombardment in 
the dark, wet nights was attended with great difficulties. 
Meanwhile only the field-guns could fire on the city ; 
but the batteries whose armament of heavy guns was 
complete opened fire on the night of the 24th 25th ; 
and soon a great fire was raging. Kehl, on the 
right bank of the river, was also set on fire by the 

The Bishop of Strasburg came out to the outposts at 
Schiltigheim to entreat forbearance for the citizens. 
Much as damage to this German city was to be 
regretted, since the Prelate was not empowered to 
negotiate the bombardment was continued through 
the night of the 25th, when it reached its height. 
But the headquarter staff at Mundolsheim became 
convinced that this mode of attack would not ac- 
complish the desired object, and that the more 
deliberate* course of a regular siege would have to be 
resorted to. General von Mertens was placed in charge 
of the engineer operations, General Decker was given 
the direction of the artillery. 

During the night of the 29th 30th August the first 
parallel was opened very close to the glacis, and soon 
was prolonged from the Rhine and Marne canal, through 
the churchyard of St. Helena, to the Jewish cemetery 
at Konigshofen. 

The number of batteries on the left bank of the 
Rhine was soon increased to 21, on the right bank to 
4 ; so that 124 guns of the heaviest calibre were ready 
in protected positions to begin the contest with the 
guns of the fortress. The further offensive operations 
were directed against bastions Nos. 11 and 12 on the 
north-west salient of the fortress. In the night of 
September 1st 2nd the second parallel was com- 
pleted, but not without opposition. A strong sortie of 
fourteen companies of the garrison made at daybreak 
(of 2nd) upon the island of Waken, and in front of 
Kronenburg and Konigshofen, was repulsed. 


The fortress then opened a heavy fire, pouring such 
a storm of projectiles on the siege- works that they had 
to be abandoned, till at about nine o'clock the artillery 
of the attack had silenced the guns of the fortress. A 
second sortie followed on the 3rd September, which 
was not repulsed before it had reached the second 

A short truce was granted at the request of the 
commandant, to allow of the burial of the dead lying 
in front of the works. And on this day a grand 
salvo announced to the besieged the victory of Sedan. 

Incessant rain had filled the trenches of the second 
parallel, 2400 paces in length, ankle-deep with water, 
and it was not till the 9th that they were completely 
repaired. Five batteries were moved forward from the 
first parallel, as special batteries were required to crush 
the fire of lunette No. 44, which took in flank all the 
approaches. These soon silenced its guns, and the 
lunette was abandoned by the garrison. 

There were now 96 rifled cannon pieces and 38 
mortars in full fire at very short range. Each gun 
was authorized to fire twenty rounds a day and ten 
shrapnel each night. The large Finkmatt Barracks 
were destroyed by fire, and the Stone Gate was so much 
injured that it had to be buttressed with sandbags. 
The garrison withdrew the guns behind the parapet, 
and only fired their mortars. However, in order to 
push forward the siege-works, sap-rollers had to be 
brought into use. 

When it was discovered that mining galleries were 
being driven in front of lunette No.53,CaptainLedebour 
let himself down by a rope into the ditches, and with 
the help of his pioneers removed the charges of powder. 

During the night of the 13th 14th, the crest of 
the glacis in \front of both the lunettes Nos. 52 
and 53 was reached. The crowning was then begun 
by means of the double traverse sap, and was finished 
in four days. 


The attack henceforth was exclusively directed against 
bastion No. 11. 

To run off the water from the ditches of the fortress 
it was necessary to destroy the sluices by the Jews' 
Gate. These were invisible from any part of the field 
of attack, and the desired result could only be very 
incompletely obtained by artillery fire at a distance of 
more than a mile. Detachments of the 34th Fusilier 
Regiment, therefore, on the 15th, marched on the 
sluices under a heavy rifle fire from the besieged, and 
destroyed the dam. 

The island of Sporen was at this time taken posses- 
sion of by the Baden corps. 

When the mortar-batteries had for the most part 
been moved up into the second parallel, the gun- 
batteries were also advanced nearer, and the wall- 
piece detachments did such execution by their accurate 
practice that the defenders never more dared to show 
themselves by day. 

The retaining wall of lunette No. 53 could only be 
reached by indirect fire ; but 1000 shells made a breach, 
and on the 19th September two mines were fired, which 
blew up the counterscarp and brought it down to the 
level of the water of the ditch. The pioneers imme- 
diately set about laying a dam of fascines across the 
ditch. A party sent over in a boat found the work 
abandoned. The gorge was closed under heavy rifle fire 
from the ramparts of the main fortress, and the parapet 
reversed so as to face the place. 

The next lunette to the left, No. 52, was merely an 
earthwork, and the attack had already been pushed 
forward as far as the edge of the ditch, but earth 
screens had first to be thrown up and covered in with 
railway iron, as a protection against the heavy fire 
of shell from bastion No. 12. The construction of a 
dam of fascines or earth, more than sixty paces across, 
and with the ditch full of water almost fathom deep, 
would have taken a long time ; so it was decided to 


make a cask bridge of beer-barrels, of which a quantity 
had been found in Schiltigheim. This work was begun 
at dusk on the 21st, under no better protection than a 
screen of boards to prevent observation, and it was 
finished by ten o'clock. Here again the defenders had 
not waited for the escalade, and this lunette, too, was 
immediately prepared for being held. Both lunettes 
were now furnished with batteries of mortars and guns 
to silence the fire from the ravelines and counter-guards 
of the front of attack, against which five dismounted 
and counter-batteries were also directed. 

During the night of the 22nd 23rd the Germans 
advanced from lunette No. 52, partly by flying sap and 
partly by the deep sap, and there followed the crown- 
ing of the glacis in the front of counter-guard No. 51. 
A breaching fire was immediately opened against the 
east face of bastion No. 11, and the west face of bastion 
No. 12. The splinters of stone compelled the defenders 
to abandon the counter-guards. The scarp of bastion 
No. 1 1 fell on the 24th, after a shell-fire of 600 rounds. 
The bringing down of the earthwork angle which 
remained standing, was postponed till the beginning of 
the assault. 

It was more difficult to breach bastion No. 12, 
because of the limited opportunity for observing the 
effect of the fire. It was not till the 2 6th that a breach 
thirty-six feet wide was made, after firing 467 long 
shells. And even then, for the actual assault to 
succeed, the deep wet ditch at the foot of the bastion 
had to be crossed. 

News of the fall of the Empire had indeed reached 
Strasburg, but General Uhrich would not listen 
to the prayers of the citizens that he would put 
an end to their sufferings. The Republic was pro- 

The siege had lasted thirty days, but the place was 
still well supplied with food and stores ; the garrison 
was not materially weakened by the loss of 2500 men, 


but its heterogeneous elements prevented its effective 
employment in large bodies outside the walls. From 
the first the small blockading force had been allowed to 
approach close to the works ; and the moment when 
the artillery of a fortress always has the advantage 
over the attack had been little utilized. 

The German artillery had proved much tl^e stronger, 
both as regards material and in its advantageous 
employment. Under its powerful protection the work 
of the pioneers and infantry was carried on with equal 
courage and caution, never swerving from the object in 
view. The storming of the main walls was now to be 
imminently expected, and no relief from outside could 
be hoped for. 

On the afternoon of September 27th, the white flag 
was seen flying from the Cathedral tower ; firing ceased 
and the sapper-works were stopped. 

In Kb'nigshofen at two in the following morning the 
capitulation was settled, on the Sedan conditions. Five 
hundred officers and 17,000 men were made prisoners, 
but the former were free to go on their parole. The 
National Guards and franctireurs were dismissed to 
their homes, after laying down their arms and pledging 
themselves to fight no more. All the cash remaining 
in the state bank, 1200 guns, 200,000 small arms and 
considerable stores proved a valuable prize of war. 

At eight o'clock in the morning of the 28th, com- 
panies of Prussian and Baden troops took over the 
National, Fischer, and Austerlitz gates. The French 
garrison marched out at the National Gate, General 
Uhrich at their head. At first the march was con- 
ducted in good order, but before long numbers of 
drunken men broke the ranks and refused to obey, or 
threw down their arms. The prisoners were taken in 
the first instance to Rastatt, under the escort of two 
battalions and two squadrons. 

The old city of the German Reich, which had been 
seized by France in time of peace nearly two centuries 


earlier, was now restored by German valour to the 
German fatherland. 

The siege had cost the Germans 39 officers and 894 
men. The city unhappily could not have been spared 
great suffering. Four hundred and fifty houses were 
utterly destroyed, 10,000 inhabitants were roofless, 
nearly 2000 were killed or wounded. The museum 
and picture gallery, the town hall and theatre, the 
new church, the gymnasium, the Commandant's resi- 
dence, and alas ! the public library of 200,000 volumes 
had fallen a prey to the flames. 

The noble Cathedral showed many marks of shot, 
and the citadel was a heap of ruins. Under the wreck 
of the assailed works in the western front lay buried 
burst cannon. 

The fall of Toul and of Strasburg produced a not 
unimportant change in the military situation. Con- 
siderable forces were now free for other services, and 
the railway transport could be brought up nearer to 
the armies. The material no longer required at 
Strasburg could not indeed be at once employed 
for the artillery offensive against Paris; it needed 
considerable re-equipment, and was to do duty mean- 
while in the reduction of several smaller places. 
The newly-opened railway line was made use of to 
bring up the Guard Landwehr Division to the army 
investing Paris. A new Army Corps, the XlVth, was 
created of the Baden Division, a combined brigade 
consisting of the 30th and 34th Prussian regiments, 
and one cavalry brigade ; which, under the command 
of General von Werder, marched on the Upper Seine. 
The 1st Reserve Division remained behind as the 
garrison of Strasburg. 



The Government in the now closely-blockaded 
capital, could not make its behests heard and obeyed 
throughout France. It therefore decided on sending a 
delegation of two of its members out into the provinces, 
their seat of direction to be at Tours. They could quit 
Paris only in a balloon. One of these delegates was 
Gambetta, whose restless energy soon made itself 
conspicuously felt, and lasted during the continuance 
of the war. Monsieur Thiers, meanwhile, had been 
visiting the European courts on the errand of in- 
ducing them to interpose their good offices in favour 
of France. 

After the mishap of September 19th the feeling in 
Paris was against any great offensive demonstrations for 
the present ; but the troops of the line still remained 
outside the walls under protection of the outlying forts. 
The Divisions of the Xlllth Corps were encamped on 
the south front and on the plateau of Vincennes ; the 
XlVth was at Boulogne, Neuilly and Clichy behind 
the loops of the Seine, with Mont Valerien in its front, 
which was held by two line-battalions, after the flight, 
on the 20th, of the Gardes-Mobiles from that im- 
pregnable stronghold, in great disorder back into 
Paris. The defence of the northern front of the city 
remained entrusted to the Gardes-Mobiles. 

On the German side the positions of the Army of 
the Meuse, which were to be occupied and defended to 
the uttermost, extended from Chatou along the Seine 
to the heights of Montmorency, and onward along the 
Moree and the skirts of the forest of Bondy as far 
as the Marne. In close touch with the flank of the 
Army of the Meuse at the Marne, the lines of the 
Wiirtemberg Division carried on the investment from 
Noisy le Grand across the Joinville peninsula to 
Ormesson. The Xlth Corps arriving from Sedan on 
the 23rd filled up the interval from Ormesson to Ville- 


neuve St. Georges, and the 1st Bavarian Corps occupied 
Longjumeau as a protection against attempts from the 
direction of Orleans. The Vlth Corps could now be 
entirely transferred to the left bank of the Seine, where 
the line of defence extended along the wooded heights 
south of Paris to Bougival. 

The Head-quarter of the King and that of the Illrd 
Army were at Versailles, that of the Army of the 
Meuse was transferred to Vert-Galant. Numerous 
bridges facilitated the inter-communication of the 
various portions of the forces, telegraphs and signal- 
lights insured their rapid concentration, and every 
movement of the French was watched from eligible 
posts of observation. 

There was no lack of accommodation for the troops, for 
every village Avas deserted ; but this made the difficulty 
of obtaining supplies all the greater. The fugitive 
inhabitants had driven off their cattle and destroyed their 
stores ; there remained only the apparently inexhaus- 
tible wine-cellars. For the first few days all the food 
needed had to be drawn from the Commissariat trains, 
but ere long the cavalry succeeded in obtaining consider- 
able supplies. High prices and good discipline secured 
a market. Only the troops in advanced positions had 
to bivouac or build huts, many within range of the 
hostile artillery, some even within rifle-shot of the 
enemy. Near St. Cloud, for instance, no one could show 
himself without becoming a mark for the chassepots 
from behind the shutters of the houses opposite. The 
outposts here could only be relieved at night, and 
sometimes had to remain on duty two or three days at 
a time. The advanced positions of the Bavarians at 
Moulin la Tour were also much exposed, and the visits 
of superior officers to them always drew a sharp 
cannonade. Le Bourget, standing as it did in advance 
of the line of inundation, was especially liable to a 
surprise. That village had been seized on 20th (Sept.) 
by a battalion of the Guard Corps, at whose approach 


400 Gardes-Mobiles had fled, leaving their baggage. 
Only one company occupied this post, on account of 
the heavy fire of the adjacent forts. 

Some petty sorties from St. Denis met with no 
success ; but an attempt by detachments of the Vlth 
Corps to occupy the village of Villejuif and the 
redoubt of Hautes Bruyeres proved unsuccessful. 
They forced their way in several times, but always had 
to retire under the fire of the neighbouring forts of 
Bicetre and Ivry, and because of the superior strength 
of Maud'huy's Division. The French afterwards armed 
the redoubts with heavy guns. 

September 30th. Early on this day a cannonade of 
an hour and a half's duration from the southern forts 
and batteries announced a sortie in that direction. By 
six o'clock two brigades of the Xlllth French Corps 
deployed against Thiais and Choisy le Roi. Strong 
swarms of tirailleurs drove in the outposts of the Vlth 
Corps, and forced the field-guns in position between 
those two villages to retire ; but then the fire of the 
infantry garrisons checked any further attack on the 
part of the French. Further to the west a third 
brigade got into Chevilly and seized a factory on 
the road to Belle Epine ; but its determined attack 
failed to obtain possession of the whole village. 
The llth Division was alarmed in its rearward 
quarters, and hurried forward to the support of the 
12th. The factory was recovered from the French, 
and the Prussian batteries now opened fire, and worked 
such havoc among the enemy as he retired on Saus- 
saye, that, shunning the attack of the infantry, he 
fled in great disorder to Hautes Bruyeres and Villejuif, 
A brigade which had forced its way into L'Hay was in 
the same way driven back, leaving 120 prisoners for 
the most part unwounded. In the farmstead at the 
north entrance of Chevilly, however, the French still 
held their ground with great obstinacy. Not till they 
were completely surrounded, and had made an in- 


effectual attempt to force a passage, did surrender 
those brave defenders, who numbered about 100. 

The whole series of attacks was entirely defeated by 
about nine o'clock, and General Vinoy vainly endea- 
voured to incite the diminished battalions at Hautes 
Bruyeres to renew the struggle. 

These few morning hours had cost the Vlth Corps 
28 officers and 413 men ; and the French many more. 

Two simultaneous feint-attacks on Sevres and on 
Mesly on the right bank of the Seine, came to nothing. 
The German outposts, at first driven in, re-occupied 
their ground by about nine o'clock. 

After thus failing to gain space towards the south- 
ward by this sortie, the besieged proceeded to assure 
themselves of the ground already in their possession 
by the construction of entrenchments. They fortified 
Villejuif and extended their lines from Hautes Bruyeres 
past Arcueil to the Mill of Pichon, so that there the 
Bavarian outposts had to be drawn in nearer to Bourg- 

Otherwise, throughout the first half of the month of 
October the garrison of Paris restricted itself for the 
most part to daily cannonades. Guns of the heaviest 
calibre were directed on the most petty objects. It was 
sheer waste of ammunition, just as though the aim was 
to get rid of the stores on hand. If one of the gigantic 
long shells happened to fall on an outpost, the destruc- 
tion was of course terrible ; but on the whole they did 
little execution. 

Apart from the noise of the cannonade to which one 
soon became accustomed, in Versailles, whence none of 
the residents had fled, it might have been thought a 
time of profound peace. The admirable discipline of 
the German troops allowed the townsfolk to pursue 
their business undisturbed ; the hosts were well paid 
for the billeting imposed on them, and the country 
people could cultivate their fields and gardens in peace. 
At St. Cloud every room was kept in the same order 


as when the Imperial family had left it, till the shells 
from Mont Valerien reduced that delightful palace with 
all its treasures of art to a heap of charred ruins. It 
was the French fire, too, which wrecked the Chateau of 
Meudon, the porcelain factory of Sevres, and whole 
villages in the nearer environs. And it was also the 
French themselves who, without any necessity, felled 
half the Bois de Boulogne. 

The investment line was considerably strengthened 
on the 10th and 16th of October, when the 17th Divi- 
sion arriving from Toul relieved the 21st at Bonneuil, 
and the latter took up a position between the Bavarians 
and the Vth Corps, in the Meudon Sevres tract ; and 
when the Guard Landwehr Division came up and 
occupied St. Germain. 

These movements were observed from Paris, and 
to clear up the situation, General Vinoy advanced at 
nine o'clock on 13th October with about 26,000 men 
and 80 guns, against the position held by the Ilnd 
Bavarian Corps. 

Four battalions of Gardes-Mobiles, protected by the 
fire of the nearest forts and of field batteries, advanced 
to the attack of Bagneux, and forced their way over 
the entrenchments wrecked by artillery fire, into the 
heart of the place, whence the defenders retired to 
Fontenay, when at eleven o'clock the French 10th 
Regiment of the line had also come up. Reinforced by 
a fresh battalion, and supported by an effective flanking 
fire from Chatillon, the Bavarians now made so firm a 
stand that the enemy could make no further progress, 
but began to put Bagneux in a state of defence. Mean- 
while the 4th Bavarian Division had stood to arms, and 
by about 1.30 General von Bothmer (its commander) 
moved it up from Sceaux and from Fontenay, and pro- 
ceeded to surround Bagneux. The barricades erected 
by the enemy were carried, who however still offered 
an obstinate resistance in the northern part of the 


A French battalion had also made its way into 
Chatillon, but the Bavarian battalion in occupa- 
tion there held its own until assistance came, and 
the enemy was driven out of the place after a sharp 

A third brigade seized Clamart, which at that time 
was not yet included in the German intrenched lines ; 
but it failed to climb the ascent to Moulin de la Tour, 
although the defenders on the plateau above were 
exposed to the fire of the forts. 

General Vinoy had convinced himself that forces which 
were a match for him confronted him at every point, 
and at three o'clock he decided to break off the fight. 
The French bodies of troops gradually disappeared 
behind the forts, and had all vanished by dusk. The 
Bavarians returned to their former fore-post positions, 
and the garrison of Bagneux was increased to two 

All France had meanwhile been arming with eager 
haste. Armies of considerable strength were being 
massed at Rouen and Evreux, at Besancon, and espe- 
cially behind the Loire, of very various composition no 
doubt, and above all lacking in professional officers to 
drill and discipline them. Great battles were therefore 
in the first instance to be avoided ; the enemy was 
to be constantly harassed by small engagements. 
Thus, towards the end of September, General Delarue 
advanced from Evreux with his " Eclaireurs de la 
Seine " up to the vicinity of St. Germain. But the 
5th Cavalry Division, supported by two Bavarian 
battalions, drove these bands back to Dreux behind 
the Eure. The woods in front of the 6th Cavalry 
Division were also full of hostile parties, who were, 
however, swept out without much difficulty beyond 
Kambouillet to Epernon. 

.Matters looked more serious to the south of Paris, 
in front of the 4th Cavalry Division, which was in 
observation towards the Loire. 


The newly-formed French XVth Corps had assembled 
at Orleans in three Divisions with a strength of 60,000 
men, and it occupied the whole forest-belt on the 
right bank of the river. To counteract the danger 
threatening the investment from that direction, the 1st 
Bavarian Corps and the 22nd Division of the Xlth 
had been put in march on Arpajon and JMontclery 
as soon as they were freed from duty at Sedan ; and 
on the 6th of October they were placed, with the 2nd 
Cavalry Division, under the command of General von 
der Tann. 

(October 10th.) 

When General von der Tann received instructions 
to take the offensive against Orleans, he marched 
on the 9th of October to the vicinity of St. Peravy 
without meeting any serious opposition, and on the 
10th advanced on Artenay. The 4th Cavalry Divi- 
sion covered the right flank ; the 2nd remained near 
Pithiviers, where the enemy had collected in great 

General La Motterouge on the same day also moved 
out on Artenay with the XVth French Corps, having the 
wood in his rear occupied by Gardes-Mobiles ; and so 
the advanced guards of both sides met at a short 
distance to the north of the common objective. 

While the Bavarian light horse on the right were 
driving the French cavalry before them, the infantry 
deployed across the road near to Dambron. The 
22nd Division marched forward on Dambron with 
both Cavalry Divisions on its flanks. Under the 
fire of the Bavarian batteries, the French had gone 



about to Artenay, where the Germans were ready to 
receive them. Attacked in front and threatened by 
bodies of horse, at about two o'clock, leaving their 
tents standing, they began a retreat which soon de- 
generated into flight. The cavalry seized four field- 
guns and took above 250 prisoners. Six hundred 
more, who had reached Croix Briquet, surrendered 
there to the Bavarian infantry on the arrival of the 

The German troops had made a long march ; General 
von der Tann therefore allowed them rest for the day 
in and around Artenay, and only the advanced guard 
went on to Chevilly, to pursue the march to Orleans 
next day. 

(October llth.) 

On this day, the 22nd Division, for the time only 
6000 strong, moved to the right flank of the advance, 
and drove the French out of several villages partly 
prepared for defence ; it was not till about ten o'clock 
that it met with serious opposition from an intrenched 
position at Ormes. 

The French Commander after the disaster at Artenay 
had decided on a retreat behind the Loire, to cover 
which he had halted about 15,000 men on the right 
bank of the river, in a position which possessed many 
essentials towards a good defence. 

General von Wittich (commanding 22nd Division) 
first sent the 44th Brigade against this position at 
Ormes, and opened fire from seven batteries. The 
troops of his left wing, supported by the Bavarian 
right, made their way but slowly over the plain east of 
the enemy's position, and various enclosures and build- 


ings had to be stormed and taken as they advanced. 
This threatening attitude of the German right, however, 
shook the firmness of the defence, and, after some hours' 
hard fighting, the French began to retreat. No sooner 
was this observed by the Germans than two batteries 
were brought up to within 800 paces, and the 83rd 
Regiment stormed the entrenchments at two in the after- 
noon, but with heavy loss. Detachments of the 43rd 
Brigade had meanwhile reached the road in rear of 
Ormes, and took 800 prisoners. But the villages, gar- 
dens and vineyards which line the road to Orleans for 
more than four miles on either side, were serious 
obstacles to the advance of the Germans in close 
formation, and the Division did not arrive at Petit St. 
Jean till three o'clock, of which the nearest buildings 
were forcibly taken possession of. 

The Bavarian Corps, which had also met with a 
stout resistance at Saran, pushed forward to Bel Air, 
but with great loss, especially in the artillery. Here 
the nature of the ground did not allow of the deploy- 
ment of the guns, a further attack came to a standstill, 
and at half-past four the French were still stoutly holding 
their own at Les Aides, till the advance of the 4th 
Bavarian Brigade to Murlins threatened their line of 
retreat. They made a renewed stand behind the rail- 
way embankment, 1000 paces in front of the town, and 
the railway-station and gas-works had also to be taken 
by assault. 

It was already five o'clock when General von der 
Tann led his reserve, the 1st Bavarian Brigade, to the 
decisive assault of Grand Ormes. The 32nd Prussian 
Regiment crossed the embankment on the left flank of 
the French, who now retired into the suburb of St. Jean. 
The 1st Bavarian Regiment, hurrying in their rear, 
was received with a hot fire at the gate of the city ; 
but with its officers marching at its head it reached the 
market-place about seven o'clock. 

The French hurried across the bridge over the Loire, 

L 2 


while the 43rd Prussian and 1st Bavarian Brigades 
seized the principal buildings and the passages across 
the river ; but as darkness fell they desisted from 
further advance and bivouacked on the open places 
of the city. 

The day had cost the Germans a loss of 900 men, the 
3rd Bavarian Brigade having suffered most severely. 
But their hard-won victory promptly dispelled the dis- 
quietude of the investing armies caused by the threat- 
ening attitude of the French ; and 5000 rifles, ten 
locomotives and sixty railway-carriages were welcome 

The French rear-guard had lost in detached combats 
and retreats alone 1800 prisoners ; but it had covered 
the retreat of the main body of the Army of the South 
for a whole day against superior forces, with praise- 
worthy determination. In the open field, where skilful 
handling of masses is possible, it would soon have been 
defeated ; but in street-fighting unflinching personal 
courage is all that is needed in the defender, and the 
latest recruits of the newly created French levies did 
not lack that attribute. 

On the following day the 1st Bavarian Division 
took possession of the suburb of St. Marceau, on the 
further side of the Loire, and advanced to the Loiret. 
The 2nd Cavalry Division scouted through the Sologne, 
the 4th on the right bank ranged to the westward. 

The French XVth Corps had continued its retreat to 
Salbris and Pierrefitte, behind the Sauldre. 

It was certainly to be wished that its pursuit could 
have been followed up to Vierzon and Tours, so that 
the vast arsenals at the first-named town might have 
been destroyed, and the Government Delegation driven 
away from the other. But it must not be forgotten 
that though the French forces had been discomfited at 
Artenay, favoured by the nature of the locality they 
had escaped utter defeat by retreat. General von der 
Tann was disproportionately weak in the infantry arm, 


and hostile masses were disclosing themselves on all 
sides. A new French Army Corps, the XVIth, ap- 
peared at Blois, below Orleans, and at Gien, above 
that city; the German cavalry met with resistance 
in the forest of Marche"noir and before Chateaudun; 
and everywhere the inhabitants and volunteers ap- 
peared so full of confidence that the proximity of 
reinforcements was to be presumed. 

So it behoved the Germans to restrict themselves to 
the occupation of Orleans and the line of the Loire ; 
and for this purpose the Bavarian Corps, with the 2nd 
Cavalry Division, seemed a sufficient force. The 22nd 
Infantry and 4th Cavalry Divisions were recalled to 
the Illrd Army ; on their return march they were 
charged to disperse the volunteers who had made their 
appearance at Chateaudun and Chartres. 

General von der Tann had the bridges over the 
Loiret and the Loire prepared for destruction, an 
Etappen-line was established to Longjumeau, and the 
Bavarian Railway Detachment set to work to restore 
the line to Villeneuve. 

(October 15th.) 

Soissons still hindered the further utilization of the 
railway, which had been re-opened at the time of the 
fall of Toul as far as Rheims. This fortress had been 
bombarded by field artillery without success when the 
Army of the Meuse passed by it on the march to Paris, 
and since then it had only been kept under observation 
until on October 6th eight Landwehr battalions, four 
squadrons, two batteries, two companies of pioneers, 
and four of fortress artillery made good the invest- 


Soissons, with its walls about 26 feet high, had com- 
plete immunity from escalade, and the damming of the 
Crise brook made it unassailable on the south. The 
south-west front, on the other hand, had only a dry 
ditch, with no counterscarp of masonry ; here, too, the 
town was commanded by Mont Marion, rising to a 
height of 300 feet at a distance of little more than 
a mile. Against this face of the fortress, therefore, the 
artillery attack was directed at short range, when on 
the llth October there arrived from Toul 26 Prussian 
siege-guns with 170 rounds for each, and 10 French 
mortars. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg took over 
the command. 

In a clear moonlight night the artillery with the help 
of the infantry was brought up on to the heights of 
Ste. Ge*nevieve ; the construction of the batteries about 
Belleu and in Mont Marion was completed and the 
arming of them effected. At six in the morning of 
12th October they opened fire simultaneously. 

The besieged answered with great spirit but with 
small results, and the accurate fire of the Prussian 
artillery soon subdued that of the enemy in the par- 
ticular front. 

A narrow breach was visible by next day, and the 
fire from the fortress was evidently much enfeebled ; 
but the commandant decidedly rejected the demand 
that he should capitulate. On the 14th he increased 
the number of guns on his south front, so that the 
batteries on Ste. GeneVieve had an arduous struggle. 
The French also laboured hard along the front of the 
attack to restore the severely damaged works, brought 
more guns up to the ramparts, and closed the breach by 

But on the 15th these repairs were soon demolished 
again by the artillery of the attack, and a breach was 
made 40 paces wide and amply spread with earth. As 
the fortress still kept up a brisk fire, it was determined 
to bring up the field-batteries within 900 paces. But 


at eight in the evening, when this operation was just 
begun, the commandant opened negotiations and sur- 
rendered the place on the Sedan terms. The garrison 
inarched out next morning, for the most part drunk. 
A thousand Gardes-Mobiles were dismissed on parole, 
3800 regulars were made prisoners. 

The attack had cost 120 men; 128 guns and 8000 
small arms became prize of war, besides vast stores of 

(October 18th.) 

In obedience to instructions, General von Wittich 
marched on Chateaudun with the 22nd Division on the 
afternoon of the 18th. The French troops of the line 
had already been ordered to retire on Blois, but about 
1800 National Guards and volunteers still remained, 
prepared under cover of barricades and walls to receive 
the enemy. The infantry attack was also made more 
difficult by the nature of the ground, and four batteries 
had to keep up a hot fire for a long time. 

It was not till dusk that a general assault was had 
recourse to. Inside the town the enemy made a despe- 
rate resistance. House after house had to be won, the 
fighting lasted until late into the night, and a large 
part of the place was set on fire. The volunteers 
finally escaped, leaving 150 prisoners and abandoning 
the inhabitants to their fate ; and these, though they 
had taken part in the struggle, were let off with a fine. 

At noon on the 21st the Division arrived in front of 
Chartres, where 10,000 French were said to have as- 
sembled. The marine infantry and Gardes-Mobiles 
advanced to the attack, but were repulsed by the fire 


of seven batteries. The General commanding the 
Division had deployed both his brigades southward of the 
city, and with the assistance of his cavalry, which had 
been joined by the 6th (Cavalry) Division, completely 
surrounded it. The fate of Chateaudun had been a 
warning to the municipal authorities, and at three 
o'clock an agreement was come to by which the troops 
were to be withdrawn, the National Guards to lay down 
their arms, and the gates to be thrown open. 

General Wittich's orders were to remain at Chartres 
for the present, while the 6th Cavalry Division was to 
occupy Maintenon, and so cover the investing army to 
the west. 

Not less fervid was the rush to arms in the north, in 
Picardy and Normandy. The Saxon Cavalry Division, 
supported by detachments of the Army of the Meuse, 
had in the early part of October driven the franc- 
tireurs and Gardes-Mobiles beyond the Oise and the 
Epte on Amiens, taking some hundreds of prisoners. 
But fresh swarms were constantly coming on, and had 
to be attacked at Breteuil, Montdidier, and Etrepagny, 
so that no less than eleven battalions, twenty-four 
squadrons, and four batteries, were by degrees employed 
in this direction for the protection of the besieging 
force. But by the end of the month the French 
forces were so systematically organized and in so great 
strength, that for the time the Germans had to confine 
themselves to holding on the defensive the line of the 

To the south-east also, in the forest-land of Fontaine- 
bleau, hostilities were prosecuted by the volunteers, 
particularly against requisition-parties of cavalry ; and 
from Nangis obstruction was threatened to the trans- 
port of the siege-guns. A small force of Wiirtemberg 
troops seized Montereau, which, though barricaded, was 
not defended ; the inhabitants gave up their arms, and 
the detachment marched on Nogent. This town was 
held by a large body of Gardes-Mobiles. After breach- 


ing the walls of the churchyard, the Wiirtembergers, 
in the face of a hot fire, made their way into the place. 
The French still offered a stout resistance in its interior, 
but finally retired on Troyes, leaving 600 dead and 
wounded. The small flying column rejoined its 
Division, having traversed over 126 miles in six days. 


(October 21st.) 

The French capital had now been invested for more 
than four weeks, and it seemed not impossible, because 
of the long continuance of inactivity, that it might be 
brought to surrender by famine. All the sorties hither- 
to attempted had only had for their object to drive 
the enemy from the closest vicinity ; a new effort was 
to aim at greater results. The project was to cross the 
Seine below Paris at Bezons and Carrieres, and to make 
a simultaneous attack on the positions of the IVth 
Prussian Corps on the heights of Argenteuil from the 
south, and from St.-Denis from the east. A march on 
Rouen by Pontoise was to follow, into a district not 
yet altogether exhausted of resources. The Army of 
the Loire was also to proceed thither by railway by 
way of Le Mans, and so there would be massed in that 
region an army of 250,000 men. 

The Prussian Vth Corps, it was true, stood right on 
the flank of such an advance across the Seine ; its 
outposts had several times been seen in Rueil. As a 
preliminary step, General Ducrot undertook to force 
back this body with 10,000 men and 120 field-guns. 
Then an intrenched line from Valerien to Carrieres 
would close the peninsula against interference from the 


Perhaps, in the face of much-dreaded " public 
opinion " and the growing restlessness of political 
parties in Paris, it was more the urgency to be doing 
something than any serious hope of success which gave 
rise to such far-reaching schemes. Considerable diffi- 
culties had to be met in attacking the enemy's lines, and 
greater must inevitably arise if the attack should 
succeed. It was vain to think of bringing through the 
miles-long trains which are indispensable for victualling 
an army. Serious embarrassment would ensue when 
the troops had consumed the three days' rations they 
would carry with them. To live on the country the 
army must disperse itself; but with the enemy at its 
heels close concentration was indispensable. And, in 
any case, it is hard to see what would have been gained 
by withdrawing from Paris the forces which had been 
assembled for the defence of the capital. Success could 
only have been hoped for if an army from without had 
been so near as to be able immediately to give the hand 
to the troops marching out. 

However, on the 2 1st of October, after Mont Valerien 
had all the morning kept up a seemingly ineffective fire, 
General Ducrot advanced at about one o'clock to attack 
the position of the Prussian 19th Brigade whose supports 
held the line Bougival Jonchere Fohlenkoppel. 
Fourteen French field-batteries deployed on either side 
of Rueil and about the southern base of Valerien ; the 
infantry advanced in five columns behind this artillery 

On the German side only two batteries could at first 
engage in the unequal duel, and one of these near the 
Villa Metternich had very soon to retire. The French 
guns advanced rightward to within 1400 paces of Bou- 
gival, and at three o'clock four companies of Zouaves 
rushed out of Rueil. Being received with a hot fire, 
they wheeled into the park of Malmaison, and without 
opposition seized the Chateau of Buzanval and the 
eastern slope of the deep-cut ravine of Cucufa. And 


here one of their batteries was brought up into the 
fighting-line to support them. 

While the main body of the 9th Division advanced 
from Versailles on Vaucresson, the 10th deployed 
against the ravine and at Villa Metternich. The in- 
fantry fire lasted for a full hour, and wrought the 
French much loss. When at about four o'clock they 
seemed sufficiently shaken, and a reinforcement of the 
Guard Landwehr had come up from St. Germain on the 
left, the German left wing advanced from Bougival and 
over the height of Jonchere, forced its way into 
Malmaison in spite of violent opposition, and followed 
the retreating Zouaves as far as Rueil. The right wing 
at the same time having turned the head of the Cucufa 
ravine, charged against its eastern slope, drove out the 
enemy, seized the battery of two guns, and occupied 
the Chateau of Buzanval. 

The French now retired on all sides, firing ceased by 
six o'clock, and the 10th Division, which had repulsed 
the enemy's assaults single-handed, re-established its 
previous fore-post line. 

The struggle had cost the Germans 400 men. The 
French, on the other hand, had in this luckless enter- 
prise left 500 dead and wounded, and 120 prisoners. 

Soon after this affair the French began to throw up 
entrenchments within 800 paces of the line of the 
Guard Corps ; and in the early morning of the 28th, 
General Bellemare, under cover of the darkness, 
advanced on Le Bourget with a force of several 

The German company in occupation there, taken 
completely by surprise, could only retire before such 
overwhelming numbers, to Pont Iblon and Blanc Mesnil. 
The French promptly barricaded themselves in the 
place and prepared it for an obstinate defence. A 
German battalion made a vain attempt that evening to 
drive them out ; it was repulsed with heavy loss. 
Equally unsuccessful next day was the fire of thirty 


field-guns directed against the place from Pont Iblon. 
Then, however, the Crown Prince of Saxony issued 
imperative orders to the Guard Corps to recapture Le 
Bourget without delay. 

(October 30th.) 

Accordingly on October 30th, nine battalions of the 
2nd Guard-Division and five batteries, under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant-General von Budritzki, 1 were assem- 
bled at Dugny, Pont Iblon and Blanc Mesnil for a con- 
centric attack on Le Bourget. The artillery in action 
along the bank of the Mor6e inundation opened the 
attack at about eight in the morning, and then the in- 
fantry went forward. The -terrain was perfectly open, 
and the advance was under fire, not merely from Le 
Bourget, but also from the heavy guns of the forts. 
Nevertheless the Grenadier Battalion of the Queen 
Elizabeth Regiment, at the head of the central column, 
at nine o'clock made a successful assault, charging 
over the barricade at the northern end of the village, 
and entering it through a breach in the wall promptly 
made by the pioneers. The Emperor Francis Grenadier 
Regiment advanced against its western face and took 
possession of the park. A fierce street-fight ensued on 
a further advance into the village, in the course of 
which there fell the commanders of both regiments, 
Colonels von Zaluskowski and Count Waldersee. The 
walled farmsteads left of the main street, were stormed 
one after another in spite of a determined defence ; the 
windows of the church, high up in the walls as they 
were, were broken in and scaled, and a hand-to-hand 
fight raged furiously inside the sacred building. The 
Guard Rifle- Battalion forced its way into the glass-works. 
1 Commanding 2nd Guard-Division. 


A.t half-past nine the French attempted to bring up 
into Le Bourget reinforcements from Aubervillers and 
Drancy ; but the left German column had meanwhile 
seized the railway-embankment, placed a detachment 
of the Emperor Alexander Regiment to hold it, and 
was forcing its way into the southern quarter of the 
village. Two batteries had taken up position on the 
Mollette brook, and their fire drove back the enemy 
and even compelled him to evacuate Drancy. 

At ten o'clock the French still held the buildings on 
the north side of the Mollette. These were now 
assailed from the south. The 4th Company of the 
Emperor Alexander Regiment crossed the stream and 
forced its way through a breach made by the sappers 
into the farmstead in which the enemy's main force 
was gathered. The defenders had to be quelled with 
the bayonet and with clubbed arms, and here the 
French Colonel de Baroche met his death. 

Although by this time eleven o'clock all the three 
attacking columns had struck hands in the heart of Le 
Bourget, the enemy continued the struggle in detached 
houses and gardens with embittered desperation till 
the afternoon, while all the forts on the north front 
of Paris overwhelmed the place with shell-fire. It was 
not till half-past one that the troops of the attack could 
withdraw by companies to their respective quarters. 
Two battalions remained to garrison Le Bourget. 

The desperate resistance of the French showed how 
important they considered their retention of this post; . 
Its success had cost the 2nd (Guard) Division 500 men. 
The enemy's loss is not known, but 1200 prisoners 
were taken. This new disaster added to the dissatis- 
faction of the inhabitants of Paris. The revolutionary 
factions, which at all times lurk in the French capital, 
came ominously to the front. 

Highly-coloured reports could no longer conceal 
utter lack of results; the authority of the Govern- 
ment was steadily on the wane. It was accused of in- 


capacity, nay, of treason. Noisy mobs clamoured for 
arms, and even a part of the National Guard took part 
in the tumult. The Hotel de Ville was surrounded by 
a throng shouting " Vive la Commune ! " and though 
other troops dispersed these gatherings, the ringleaders, 
though well known, went unpunished. 

On the 31st of October uproarious masses again 
paraded the streets. As General Trochu had for- 
bidden the sentries at the Hotel de Ville to use their 
arms, the rebels forced their way in. The Ministers 
were their prisoners till the evening, when some bat- 
talions which remained staunch liberated them. 

Monsieur Thiers, who had returned from his fruitless 
tour among the European Courts, thought the time 
had come for re-opening negotiations with Versailles. 
On the part of the Germans there was still the readiness 
to grant an armistice, but it was naturally impossible 
to accede to the condition demanded by the French, that 
the city should be re-provisioned, and so hostilities had 
to take their course. 

At this time, towards the end of October, the situa- 
tion on the Moselle had assumed an aspect which 
essentially modified that of the whole war. 

* # * * i 

By the exchange of German prisoners for French 
who had fought at Sedan, details of the disaster which 
had befallen France in that battle were currently 
known in Metz. But Marshal Bazaine declared that 
the Army of the Rhine would continue to defend 
the country against the invaders, and maintain 
public order against the evil passions of disloyal men 
a resolution which certainly could be interpreted 
in more ways than one. It would have been 
eminently satisfactory to the Germans, politically 
speaking, if there had been in France an available 

1 In text there is at this point no Section-Headline, although the 
subject changes ; but the succeeding pages till commencement of 
new Section are headed : "Die Lage vor Metz im October." This 
heading is followed in translation. 


power, apart from the pretentious but feeble Govern- 
ment in Paris, with which to come to an under- 
standing as regarded the termination of the war. Per- 
mission was therefore given for the admission to 
Metz of a person representing himself to have a com- 
mission from the exiled Imperial family. As he was 
unable to authenticate himself in this capacity to the 
satisfaction of Marshal Bazaine, General Boiirbaki was 
allowed to pass through the German lines that he 
might betake himself to London, where, however, the 
Empress Eugenie declined all intervention in the 
already so disastrous affairs of France. The General 
then placed his services at the disposal of the National 
Defence Government at Tours. 

Meanwhile the army which had been beleagured 
in Metz since the day of Noisseville maintained a 
waiting attitude. The necessary supplies for 70,000 
inhabitants, including the country-folk who had taken 
refuge in the city, had originally been enough to last 
three months and a half, those for the regular garrison 
were calculated for about five months ; but for the 
Army of the Rhine there was sustenance in store for 
only forty-one days, and there was forage for only 

Certainly it was possible to supplement the supplies 
for the troops by purchase from the abundant stores of 
the citizens ; but ere long smaller rations of bread 
were served out and horses were being slaughtered to 
furnish animal food, so that most of the cavalry regi- 
ments were reduced to two squadrons. 

On the German side, the service of supplying 
197,326 men and 33,136 horses was one of great diffi- 
culty. The outbreak of cattle-plague in Germany 
restricted the importation of live beasts to those pur- 
chased in Holland and Belgium. The meat rations had 
to be supplemented by tinned provisions ; and increased 
rations of oats had to take the place of hay and straw. 

The losses of the army had hitherto been made good 
from the reserves, but the transport of the prisoners from 


Sedan alone required the services of fourteen bat- 
talions of the force blockading Metz. Thus it had not 
yet been possible to provide sufficient shelter for the 
troops near the wide extension of the entrenched line. 
Raw, rainy weather had come on early in the season, 
and a fourth part of the men were still roofless ; so that 
by degrees the sick in hospital reached the alarming 
number of 40,000. 

Although fifty heavy guns had been brought up 
from Germany, they were useless for the bombardment 
of Metz, since in consequence of the superior calibre of 
the fortress artillery they could only be fired at night, 
and with frequent change of position. There was 
nothing for it but to hope for the best, and have 

For four weeks already had the besieged been con- 
suming their stores. To replenish those in some degree, 
and at the same time to revive the spirit of the troops 
by active measures, the Marshal decided on fetching 
in all the provisions to be found in the villages inside 
the line of the German investment, under cover of a 

At noon on September 22nd Fort St. Julien opened 
a heavy fire on the outposts of the 1st Corps. Strong 
bodies of infantry then advanced on the villages to the 
eastward, drove in the picquets of the enemy, and re- 
turned to Metz with the stores which had been seized. 
But a similar attempt made next afternoon on the villages 
to the north was less successful. Most of the waggons 
had to return empty, under the fire of the Prussian 
batteries quickly brought up into position. Finally, 
on the 27th, a sortie for the same purpose was made to 
the southward, which led to a series of small conflicts 
and the capture in Peltre of a German company, 
which was surrounded by a much stronger force. A 
simultaneous sally on the left bank of the Moselle was 
baflled by the fire of the alert artillery of the besieging 


Thionville, on the north of Metz, had hitherto only 
been kept under observation by a small force, which 
could not hinder the garrison from scouring the country 
as far as the neighbouring frontier, taking many pri- 
soners, seizing fifty waggon-loads of supplies, and even 
diverting into the fortress a whole train of provision- 
trucks while passing by the now restored railway from 

In point of fact, the Army of the Rhine would have 
found in Thionville an important rallying-point at the 
end of its first day's march, if the blockade of Metz 
could have been broken through. Prince Frederick 
Charles, realizing this, took care to strengthen the 
investing lines to the north, on the right bank of the 
Moselle. On October 1st the Xth Corps took up the 
position hitherto held by the Reserve Division Kummer, 
which was transferred to the left bank of the river. 
The 1st, Vllth, and VHIth Corps closed up to the right, 
and the Ilnd occupied the space between the Seille and 
the Moselle ; the troops before Thionville were also re- 

The Marshal had really once more determined to 
break out to the northward, and that on both banks 
of the river. New bridges were constructed behind 
St. Julien and from the island of Chambiere, the 
nearest German outposts on the north and west of Metz 
were pushed back by a series of daily skirmishes. 
Under cover of the fire of the forts the French estab- 
lished themselves firmly in Lessy and Ladonchamps. 
The troops to be left in Metz were expressly selected ; 
the others tested as to their marching powers. 
Light-signals were arranged with Thionville, and all 
preparations made for a sortie on the 7th. 

Then the French commander suddenly changed his 
mind, and the proposed enterprise collapsed into a 
foraging expedition. 

For this, indeed, large forces were set in motion ; 
the Guard Voltigeur Division, the Vlth Corps, and 



the IVth in the forest of Woippy. The movement was 
also to be supported by the Illrd Corps on the right 
bank of the river. 

Four hundred waggons were in readiness to carry 
off the stores from the large farms lying north of 

(October 7th.) 

Although the start from Woippy planned for eleven 
o'clock, was not effected till one, the Landwehr com- 
panies on outpost duty were driven in by superior 
numbers, and as they defended their positions till their 
ammunition was exhausted, they also lost a consider- 
able number of prisoners. But the artillery of the 
Landwehr Division prevented the removal of the 
stores ; the 5th Division advancing from Norroy struck 
the left flank of the French attack and drove the enemy 
back on Bellevue, where a stationary fight developed 

The French Illrd Corps advanced on the right bank 
of the Moselle against Malroy and Noisseville. Here, 
too, the outpost line fell back ; but behind it stood the 
Xth and 1st Corps, ready for action. The respective 
Corps commanders at once perceived that this attack 
was only a feint. Although threatened himself, General 
von Voigts-Rhetz sent his 38th Brigade across the 
Moselle at Argancy by half-past two to assist the 
Landwehr Division, and when General von Manteuffel 
forwarded him supports to Charly, the 37th Brigade 

No sooner Jiad the first reinforcements arrived than 
General von Kummer on his side took the offensive, 


recaptured the farmsteads from the enemy after a 
sharp struggle just as the latter were about to retire, 
and then, supported on the right by part of the 5th 
Division, moved on Bellevue at about six in the even- 
ing. Ladonchamps, however, still remained in the 
hands of the French. Late in the evening the 19th 
and Reserve Divisions advanced on this place. The 
premises of the chateau, which were surrounded by a 
moat, were carefully intrenched and strongly defended 
by infantry and guns. The darkness precluded effec- 
tive artillery action, and the attack failed ; but all the 
other points previously held by the Germans were re- 

The day had cost the Prussians 1700 killed and 
wounded, besides 500 reported missing. The French 
loss was given out to be no more than 1193. 

This attempt on the part of the French might be 
regarded as tentative, and preliminary only to a real 
effort to break through ; perhaps it was so intended. 
The German troops therefore remained in the posi- 
tions they had occupied at the close of the fighting, 
in expectation of renewed hostilities on the morrow. 

The forts in fact opened a heavy fire on the farm- 
buildings early on the 8th, while the German batteries 
directed their fire on Ladonchamps. Strong columns 
also advanced along the right bank of the Moselle, but 
nowhere attempted a serious attack. The Prussian 
troops therefore presently retired to their quarters. 

The artillery duel was carried on for the next few 
days, but with diminished energy. Constant rain 
made all field operations very difficult, and increased 
the sufferings of the men on both sides. In Metz the 
lack of victuals was becoming very painfully felt. So 
early as on the 8th the commandant had announced 
that his stores would not last longer than for twelve 
days. A council of war, held on the 10th, was, how- 
ever, of opinion that the greatest service the Army of 
the Rhine could do to France was to hold out as 

M 2 


long as possible, since it thus continued to detain a 
hostile army under the walls of Metz. 

The Marshal now sent General Boyer to negotiate at 
Versailles, but his instructions were to demand a free 
exit for the army and explicitly to refuse the terms of 
the Sedan capitulation. 

The state of affairs in Metz was perfectly well 
known to the Germans. The number of men who 
were taken willing prisoners while digging potatoes 
increased every day. They reported that disturbances 
had broken out in the city, in which even part of the 
soldiers had taken part, and that the commander-in- 
chief had been compelled to proclaim the Republic. 
And since the Empress had declared that she would 
never give her consent to any diminution of French 
territory, no further political negotiations were possible 
with the chiefs of the Army of the Rhine. 

On the 20th the distribution of stores came to an 
end within the fortress, and the troops thenceforth for 
the most part subsisted on horseflesh. The original 
stock of 20,000 horses was reduced by a thousand a 
day. The want of bread and salt was severely felt, 
and the soaked, deep ground made living in camp 
almost unendurable. 

After the failure of the negotiations at Versailles, 
the imperative necessity of entering into negotiations 
with the Headquarter of the besieging army was 
recognized by a council of war held on the 24th. 

The first interview had no result, as the Marshal 
still stipulated for free egress on condition of with- 
drawing to Algiers, or the alternative of an armistice 
with th^ reprovisioning of Metz. On the German side 
the surrender of the fortress and the march out of the 
garrison ate prisoners of war were insisted on, and on 
these conditions the capitulation was signed on the 
evening of the 27th of October. 


(October 27th.) 1 

On the morning of the 29th l Prussian flags were 
hoisted on the great outworks of Metz. At one o'clock 
the French garrison marched out by six roads in 
perfect silence and correct military formation. 2 At 
each specified position a Prussian Army Corps stood 
to receive the prisoners, who were immediately placed 
in bivouacs previously prepared, and supplied with 
food. The officers were allowed to keep their swords 
and to return to Metz-; provisions were immediately 
sent in. 

Marshal Bazaine set out for Cassel. 

In the course of the day the 26th Brigade occupied 
Metz. The city had suffered no injury, but the 
state of the camps showed what the troops had suffered 
during the siege of seventy-two days. 

The Germans during that time had lost 240 officers 
and 5500 men in killed and wounded. 

Six thousand French officers and 167,000 men were 
taken prisoners, beside 20,000 sick who could not be 
at once removed, about 200,000 in all. 3 Fifty-six 
Imperial eagles, 622 field and 876 fortress guns, 72 
mitrailleuses and 260,000 rifles fell into the hands of 
the Germans. 

The prisoners were transported by way of Treves 
and Saarbriicken, escorted by Landwehr battalions, 
and as these would have also to guard them when in 
Germany, their return to field service was not to be 
reckoned on. 

1 The Protocol embodying the terms of capitulation was signed on 
the evening of the 27th; its provisions came into effect at and after 
10 a.m. of the 29th. 

2 On the contrary, there were much drunkenness and disorder. 

3 The 20,000 sick were included in the total of 173,000 officers 
and men surrendered. 



The capitulation of Metz, which Prince Frederick 
Charles had brought about under such serious difficul- 
ties, materially improved the prospects of the war for 

At the Royal Headquarter at Versailles, even before 
the catastrophe .but in confident anticipation of it, 
decisions had been arrived at as to the respective 
destinations of the forces it would release for service, 
and communicated in advance to the superior Com- 

The 1st, Vllth and VHIth Corps, with the 3rd 
Cavalry Division, were thenceforth to constitute the 
1st Army, under the command of General von Man- 
teuffel. Its orders were to advance into the Com- 
piegne region and cover the investment of Paris on 
the north. But apart from these orders it had various 
other duties to fulfil ; it was to occupy Metz and lay 
siege to Thionville and Montme'dy. 

The Ilnd, ITIrd, IXth and Xth Corps, with the 1st 
Cavalry Division, were to constitute the Ilnd Army 
under the command of Prince Frederick Charles, which 
was ordered to advance on the Middle Loire. 


. (October.) 

Since the fall of Strasburg the newly-formed 
XlVth Corps had been employed in safe-guarding the 
communications between the German armies stand- 
ing fast respectively before Metz and before Paris. 
General von Werder had no great battle to look 


forward to, but a succession of small engagements. 
To prepare his four infantry brigades for independent 
action under such circumstances, he detailed artillery 
and cavalry to each. In this formation the Corps 
crossed the Vosges by the two roads through Schir- 
meck and Ban*, driving swarms of hostile Franctireurs 
out of the narrow passes without material delay. 
But on emerging from the mountains it at once met 
with serious opposition. 

The French General Cambriels had been at Epinal 
with about 30,000 men ever since the beginning of 
October, and under cover of this force numerous 
battalions of National" Guards and Gardes-Mobiles had 
been formed in the south of France. 

On the 6th, General von Degenfeld * with the ad- 
vanced guard of the Baden force approached St. Die, 
marching on both banks of the Meurthe. The weak 
column was beset on all sides by far superior forces, yet 
after repeated attacks it succeeded in taking the villages 
which the enemy had been holding. 

The struggle, which lasted seven hours, ended with 
the eccentric retreat of the enemy to Rambervillers and 
Bruyeres. It had cost the Germans 400 and the French 
1400 men. The Baden force bivouacked on the field, 
and presently found that the French had evacuated St. 
Die. General Cambriels had, in fact, collected all his 
available forces in intrenched positions about Bruyeres. 
The Baden Brigade advanced on these on the llth, 
drove the Gardes-Mobiles and volunteers from the out- 
lying villages, climbed the heights on both sides of the 
town, and forced its way into it with inconsiderable 
loss. The enemy retired to the southward on Re'mire- 

From the small resistance hitherto made by the 

French, though so far superior in numbers, General 

von Werder assumed that they would hardly make a 

stand before reaching Besan9on, so he immediately 

1 Commanding 2nd Baden Brigade. 


countermanded further pursuit, though somewhat early 
in the day, and concentrated his forces on Epinal, 
which place was taken possession of by the Germans 
after insignificant fighting. From thence an etappen- 
route and telegraph-line were opened to Luneville and 
Nancy, magazines were formed, and the trains, which 
were following the Corps from Saverne by Blamont to 
Baccarat, were brought up. The railway along the 
Moselle remained, however, useless for a long time, in 
consequence of injury done to it by the enemy. 

General von Werder was now anxious, in accordance 
with his instructions of September 30th, to march on 
the Upper Seine by Neufclmteau, but a telegram from 
the supreme Headquarter directed him in the first 
instance to complete the rout of the enemy in his 
vicinity under General Cambriels. 

The Corps accordingly put itself in motion forth- 
with through Conflans and Luxeuil on Vesoul, and 
information was received that the enemy had in fact 
halted at the Ognon, taken up quarters there, and 
received reinforcements. General von Werder deter- 
mined to attack at once. He ordered that the passages 
over the river should be secured on the 22nd ; further 
decisions were postponed till reports should be brought 
in. The 1st Baden Brigade came up on the right by 
nine o'clock, reaching Marnay and Pin without having 
encountered the French ; it secured the bridges there, 
and then halted to await further orders. On the left 
flank the franctireurs were driven out of the woods 
by the 3rd Brigade, which also stormed Perrouse, and 
at about half-past two seized the bridge over the 
Ognon at Voray. In the centre the head of the 
advanced guard of the 2nd Brigade entered Etuz after 
a slight skirmish, but had to withdraw at eleven 
o'clock to the northern bank, before the enemy's flank 
attack from out the woods. Afterwards, when the 
main force came up and the artillery opened fire, 
the olace was taken for the second time at one o'clock. 


But a prolonged fire-fight ensued, the French making 
an obstinate stand in front of the passage over the 
river at Cussey. Orders had already been sent to the 
1st Brigade to move up on the southern bank from Pin 
on the enemy's flank and rear. But it could not reach 
the ground until six o'clock, when the battle was over. 
When two batteries had made good the possession of 
the bridge over the Ognon under a heavy fire, the 
enemy hastily retired, pursued by the Badeners ; he 
was again driven out of his rearward positions, but 
when night fell he still remained in possession of several 
points in front of Besancon. 

The Germans had lost 120 men, the French 150 and 
200 prisoners. In opposition to Gambetta, who was 
himself in Besan9on, General Cambriels obstinately 
resisted every order to renew the advance, and would 
only consent to maintain his strong position under the 
walls of the fortress. 

Parties sent out to reconnoitre on the right reported 
the presence of French forces at Dole and Auxonne, 
the advance-guard probably of an " Army of the Vos- 
ges " under Garibaldi, which was assembling on the 
Doubs. General von Werder disregarded it, and on 
the 26th moved his Corps to Dampierre and Gray. 
Beyond the Saone all the roads were broken up, the 
woods choked with abatis, and the whole population in 
arms. But the franctireurs and Gardes-Mobiles were 
dispersed without difficulty, and a column marching 
without any precautions was driven back on the Vin- 
geanne brook, where 15 officers and 430 men laid down 
their arms. 

From further reports and the information of the pri- 
soners it was known that Dijon was strongly garrisoned. 
In expectation, therefore, of an attack from that side, 
the XlVth Corps was assembled behind the Vingeanne, 
whence early on October 30th General von Beyer 1 
marched on Dijon with the 1st and 3rd Brigades. 
1 Commanding Baden Division. 


Filled with apprehension by recent events, the Na- 
tional Guards in Dijon had already laid down their 
arms, the Gardes-Mobiles and the line troops of the 
garrison had retreated southwards ; but the inhabitants 

defend them. About 8000 men were available, but 
they insisted on their commander pledging himself to 
fight only outside the city. 

The advanced posts on the Tille were driven in by the 
Baden advanced guard ; the village of St. Apollinaire 
and the neighbouring heights were taken with a rush at 
noon, in spite of a hot fire. Meanwhile the main body 
had come up, and at three o'clock six German batteries 
opened fire. The vineyards and numerous farmsteads 
in the neighbourhood of Dijon, and especially the 
strongly barricaded park south of the city, gave the 
defence a great advantage. Nevertheless, the Baden 
infantry continued its steady advance and closed in on 
the northern and eastern suburbs by a wide encircling 

Here a fierce combat ensued, in which the inhabi- 
tants took part. House after house had to be stormed, 
but the attack came to a stand at the deep-cut bed of 
the Suzon brook, which borders the city on the east. It 
was four o'clock, and the impending struggle could not 
be ended before dark. General von Beyer therefore 
broke off the fight ; the battalions were withdrawn and 
retired to quarters in the adjacent villages ; only the 
artillery still kept up its fire. 

The Germans had lost about 150 and the French 100 
men ; but of the latter 200 were taken prisoners. 

In the course of the night a deputation came out 
to beg that the town might be spared ; its members 
undertook to furnish supplies for 20,000 men, and to 
guarantee the good behaviour of the inhabitants. 
The Baden troops took possession of Dijon on the 31st. 

Meanwhile fresh instructions had reached General 

von Werder. They prescribed that he was to protect 




the left flank of the Ilnd Army advancing to the Loire 
and at the same time to cover Alsace and the troops 
besieging Belfort, where two reserve Divisions had now 
arrived. It was intended that the XlVth Corps, while 
retaining its hold on Dijon, should also move to Vesoul 
and hold in check from there the gathering of hostile 
troops round Besan9on and at Langres. Some offensive 
movement on Chalons l and Dole was also insisted on. 

General von Werder's position was more difficult 
than was recognized at Versailles. At Besan^on alone 
there were 45,000 French troops, under the command 
of a new leader, General Crouzat. Garibaldi had col- 
lected 12,000 between Dole and Auxonne ; lower down 
the Saone valley a new Corps was being formed of 
18,000 men, and 12,000 National Guards and Gardes- 
Mobiles threatened from Langres the flank of the iso- 
lated German Corps. But the French, instead of 
attacking this slender force with overwhelming numbers 
spread out as it was over a distance of fifty- six miles 
from Lure to Dijon and Gray were haunted by the 
apprehension that the Germans, reinforced from Metz, 
might be intending an attack on Lyons. General 
Crouzat, leaving a strong garrison in Besan9on, con- 
sequently marched to Chagny, where up to November 
12th he was reinforced from the south to a strength of 
50,000 men. The Garibaldian volunteers moved up to 
Autun to protect Bourges. 

General von Werder meanwhile had occupied Vesoul, 
and had the south face of the city put in a state of 

The only event of importance during the course of 
October which remains to be mentioned was the action 
taken against the French forts lying rearward of the 
German armies. 

At the beginning of the month the newly constituted 
4th Reserve Division, of fifteen battalions, eight squad- 

1 Chalons-sur-Saone. 


rons, thirty-six guns, and a company of fortress- 
pioneers, had assembled in Baden, and crossed the 
Rhine at Neuenburg. The vicinity was first cleared 
of franctireurs, Mulhausen was occupied, and, by the 
express desire of its municipal authorities, the excited 
artisan inhabitants were disarmed. General von 
Schmeling (commanding the Division) was instructed 
to besiege Neu-Breisach and Schlettstadt, and at once 
set about the investment of each of these places with a 
brigade. On October 7th the East Prussian Landwehr 
invested Breisach, and the field-batteries shelled the 
place, but without effect. The other brigade, having 
been forced to detach considerably, reached Schlettstadt 
very weak, but was reinforced by Etappen troops 
to such extent that the place was invested with 8 
battalions, 2 squadrons, and 2 batteries. At the same 
time 12 companies of fortress-artillery and 4 companies 
of pioneers arrived from Strasburg with the necessary 
siege material, and an artillery park of fifty-six heavy 
guns was established at St. Pilt ; the engineer park 
was located at Kinzheim. 

(October 24th.) 

At the beginning of the blockade, inundations and 
marsh-land rendered Schlettstadt, a fortified town of 
10,000 inhabitants, unapproachable on the east and 
south, and partly on the north. The place itself, per- 
fectly safe from storm, with high walls and a wet ditch, 
was armed with 120 guns, but garrisoned with only 
2000 men, for the most part Gardes-Mobiles. There 
was a deficiency of safe casemates, and on the west 


front vineyards and hedgerows favoured the near 
approach of assaults, while the railway embankment 
was a ready-made protecting wall for the construction 
of the first parallel. To divert the attention of the 
besieged from this front of attack, a battery was con- 
structed on the 20th at the Kappel Mill on the south- 
east, from which fire was opened on the barracks and 
magazine in the town, and on the sluice which main- 
tained the inundation. By the evening of the 21st, 
the infantry posts had advanced to within 400 paces 
of the glacis, and the construction of the first parallel 
was proceeded with .that night, immediately behind 
the railway, as well as of emplacements for six 
batteries within 1230 feet from the ramparts. The 
garrison fired in the dark on the entire field of 
attack, but almost without effect. By the morning 
the trenches were two feet wide and three and a half 
feet deep, and 20 heavy guns and 8 mortars were ready 
to open fire. A hot artillery duel now began with 
the fortress, which replied very steadily. The battery 
at the mill subjected the west front to a telling 
reverse fire, and several guns and embrasures were 
severely damaged. The town was fired at several 
points, and the defenders' fire gradually ceased. 
During the night, which was very stormy, the bat- 
teries of the attack kept up their fire, the parallel was 
widened and two new batteries were begun. 

At daybreak of the 24th the white flag was seen 
flying, and a capitulation was forthwith signed, by 
which Schlettstadt surrendered with its garrison and 
war-material. The commandant begged the Germans 
to take possession at once, as the greatest disorder 
reigned within the town. The public buildings were 
being plundered by the mob and the drunken soldiery, 
and a powder-magazine was actually on fire. The 
German battalions promptly restored order, extin- 
guished the flames, and took away the prisoners. 
Seven thousand stand of arms fell into German hands, 


besides the fortress artillery and a large quantity of 
stores. The siege had cost the victors only twenty men. 
Schlettstadt was occupied by Etappen troops, and 
the battalions released from duty there marched into 
southern Alsace, three of them going to strengthen the 
siege of Breisach, which was now being proceeded 

(November 10th.) 

This fortress, lying in the plain and of very sym- 
metrical shape, was proof against a coup-de-main 
because of its ditches, which were dry indeed, but faced 
with solid masonry. The garrison of over 5000 men 
had well-protected quarters in the bomb-proof casemates 
of the ravelins. Fort Mortier, standing near the Rhine, 
and constructed for independent defence, effectually 
commanded the ground over which the intended attack 
must be made on the north-west front of the fortress. 
Therefore 12 heavy guns were brought up from Rnstatt 
to Alt Breisach, where the right bank of the Rhine 
commands the fort at effective range. 

It was not till near the end of October that the siege- 
guns arrived before New Breisach from Schlettstadt, 
and when the infantry had closed up and all pre- 
parations were complete, fire from 24 heavy guns was 
opened on the fortress on November 2nd from Wolf- 
ganzen, Biesheim and Alt Breisach. 

By three o'clock a large part of the town was on 
fire, and detachments of infantry were skirmishing 
with the French posts at the foot of the glacis. Fort 
Mortier had suffered exceptionally severely. Never- 


theless, an attempt to storm it was repulsed, but at 
six o'clock it capitulated, an utter ruin. Only one 
gun remained in serviceable condition. Two new 
mortar batteries were erected to shell the main 
fortress, the defence became perceptibly more feeble, 
and on November 10th Breisach surrendered on the 
same terms as Schlettstadt, but the garrison was 
allowed to march out with the honours of war. The 
fortifications were almost uninjured, but the town was 
for the most part burnt down or severely damaged. 
The success had cost the Germans only 70 men ; 108 
guns, 6000 small arms and large quantities of stores 
fell into their hands. 

While these strongholds in Alsace-Lorraine were 
thus being reduced, Verdun still intercepted the line of 
railway which formed the shortest line of communica- 
tion with Germany. 

(November 9th.) 

This place, too, was made quite storm-free by high 
walls and deep wet ditches ; but, on the other hand, it 
was surrounded by a ring of heights whence it could 
be seen into, and at the foot of these heights villages 
and vineyards favoured an approach to within a short 
distance of the outworks. 

The fortress was armed with 140 guns and abun- 
dantly victualled, and the garrison, which had been 
supplemented by escaped prisoners, was 6000 strong. 
A bombardment by field-artillery had already proved 
perfectly ineffectual. For a long time Verdun was only 
under observation, at first by cavalry, and afterwards 


by a small mixed force. At the end of September the 
65th Regiment and twelve companies of Landwehr 
assembled under General von Gayl before the east face 
of the place. It was not till October 9th that two com- 
panies of fortress-artillery brought up some French 
heavy guns from Toul and Sedan. The infantry now 
advanced to within a few hundred paces of the west 
and north fronts and there established itself. Under 
this cover the construction of the batteries was begun 
on the evening of October 12th. 

The heavy ground after the rain, and the rocky 
subsoil very thinly covered, made the work un- 
commonly difficult, yet by next morning fifty-two 
guns were able to open fire. But the fortress replied 
with such effect that before noon two batteries on the 
Cote de Hayvaux on the westward were reduced to 

In the course of this three days' artillery engage- 
ment, 15 German guns were placed out of action, 
the artillery lost 60 men and the infantry 40. The 
disabled guns on the walls of the enemy were constantly 
replaced by fresh ones. 

The garrison, which was far stronger than the 
besiegers, now assumed the offensive. During the 
stormy night of the 19th 20th, the picquets on the 
Hayvaux were overpowered, and the guns in the 
battery there were spiked. On the 28th a sortie in 
greater force was made. The French climbed up Mont 
St. Michel, lying northward of Verdun, and destroyed 
the breast- works and bomb-proofs of the batteries, 
from which, however, the guns had been withdrawn. 
Another body pushed up the Hayvaux, and as the 
soaked state of the ground prevented the guns from 
being withdrawn, they were totally disabled. The 
villages in the neighbourhood were also occupied by 
the French. 

It was now evident that the means hitherto brought 
to bear on the reduction of Verdun were quite in- 


adequate. But after the fall of Metz the 1st Army was 
able to send up reinforcements. At the end of the 
month 5 battalions and 2 companies of pioneers and 
several of artillery arrived, and also a quantity of 
German material. 

The siege park now numbered 102 guns with abun- 
dant ammunition, and preparations were at^once made 
for a regular attack. 

But for this the garrison did not wait. After an 
armistice had been granted, the place capitulated on 
November 8th, in virtue of which the garrison, with 
exception of the local National Guards, became pri- 
soners of war. The officers were dismissed on parole 
with their swords and personal property, and it was 
agreed that the war-material in store should be given 
back on the conclusion of peace. 


The 1st Army having in addition undertaken the 
siege of Mezieres, the 1st Infantry Division moved 
on that place, and the 3rd Brigade, sent forward by 
railway to Soissons, on November 15th set about the 
siege of the small fortress of La Fere. The rest of the 
1st Corps reached Rethel on the same day, the VHIth 
Rheims, and the 3rd Cavalry Division Tagnon, between 
the two places named. The Vllth Corps was still 
fully engaged in guarding the prisoners and in besieg- 
ing Thionville and Montmedy. 

Of the Ilnd Army the IXth Corps and 1st Cavalry 
Division reached Troyes on the 10th, the Illrd Ven- 
deuvre, the Xth Neufchateau and Chaumont. The 
important railway connections there and at Bologne 



were occupied, and the injury done to the line to 
Blesme was repaired, so as to open up a new line of 
communication. The health of the German forces had 
been materially improved by short marches along 
good roads and by abundant supplies ; but a telegram 
from Versailles now ordered an accelerated advance. 

The Government in Paris being powerless, the Dele- 
gation at Tours was displaying increased activity. 
Gambetta, as Minister both of War and of the Interior, 
was exercising the power almost of a Dictator, and the 
fiery energy of this remarkable man had achieved the 
feat of placing 600,000 armed men and 1400 guns in 
the field in the course of a few weeks. 

In the AiTondissements the National Guards were 
formed into companies and battalions ; then in each 
Department these were consolidated into brigades ; and 
finally the brigades were incorporated along with the 
nearest troops of the line and Gardes -Mobiles into the 
larger Army-Corps. 

Thus, in the course of October, under cover of the 
troops of General D'Aurelle de Paladines which had 
re-crossed the Loire, a new X Vllth Corps was made up 
at Blois, another, the XVIIIth, at Gien, and a third, 
under Admiral Jaures, at Nogent le Rotrou. A large 
force was in Picardy under General Bourbaki, another 
at Rouen under Briand, and a third on the left bank of 
the Seine under Fiereck. 

The detachments of the army investing Paris, which 
were pushed forward to the south, west, and north, 
already met in all directions strong forces of the enemy, 
which they indeed repulsed in many small encounters, 
but could not follow up to the places of their origin. 
For such purposes the arrival of the army released from 
the siege of Metz was needed, and this was not to be 
looked for before some time in November, while now in 
October there was threatened a general advance of the 
French forces on Paris. 

Having regard to the inferior strength of General 


von Tann's Division holding Orleans, at a French 
council of war held at Tours it was decided to recover 
that important place. The attack was to be delivered 
chiefly from the west. The French XVth Corps two 
Infantry Divisions and one of Cavalry therefore assem- 
bled at Mer on the northern bank of the Lower Loire, 
and the main body of the XVIth behind tfye forest of 
Marchenoir. The remaining portions of both Corps 
were to co-operate on the Upper Loire by way of Gien. 
Any further advance was not projected, at any rate for 
the present ; on the contrary, General d'Aurelle's 
instructions were to form an intrenched camp about 
Orleans for 200,000 men. 

General von Tann's reconnoitring parties to the west- 
ward everywhere met hostile detachments, which were 
indeed driven back by restraining skirmishes into the 
forest of Marchenoir without much difficulty, but which 
betrayed the vicinity of large forces of the enemy. On 
the whole an attack from the south-west on the invest- 
ing army before Paris seemed the likeliest event, since 
this would threaten both the German Head-quarter in 
Versailles and the siege-park at Villacoublay ; while the 
German reinforcements from the eastward would have 
the furthest distance to reach the quarter indicated. 

The French forces to the west of Orleans were already 
extended over a wide stretch of country from Beau- 
gency to Chateaudun. The volunteers grew bolder 
every day, and the people more hostile. 

At last, in quest of some more accurate information, 
Count Stolberg (commanding 2nd Cavalry Division) 
on November 7th made a reconnaissance in force. 
Three regiments of the 2nd Cavalry Division, two 
batteries, and some companies of Bavarian Infantry 
advanced by Ouzouer and drove the enemy out of 
Marolles, but they found the skirts of the forest strongly 

General Chanzy had brought up all his immediately 
available troops to St. Laurent des Bois. A sharp fire- 

N 2 


fight ensued, lasting about half an hour, which caused 
severe losses in the Bavarian infantry ; and then, as 
the great superiority of the French was evident, the 
engagement was broken off. 

As a matter of fact, both the French Corps were 
already in full march on Orleans. Reaching the forest 
on the 8th, they occupied it firmly, their right wing at 
Messas and Meung, their left at Ouzouer. The XVth 
Corps was next to move to the right to the Mauve and 
the XVIth to the left on Coulmiers. The heads of 
those Corps showed themselves at Bardon and Charson- 
ville respectively. Both the French Cavalry Divisions 
were directed northward on Prenouvellon to turn the 
right wing of the Bavarians with a force of ten regi- 
ments, six batteries, and numerous volunteer bands, 
and thus to cut off their retreat on Paris. 

To counteract this attempt the Bavarian Cuirassier 
Brigade started for St. Peravy, the 2nd Cavalry Divi- 
sion for Baccon, and, further south, the 2nd Bavarian 
Infantry Division advancing from Orleans held the 
country about Huisseau and St. Ay. 

But an attack was also threatening the German JVMI- 
from the considerable force at Gien. General von der 
Tann realized that it was now the last moment when 
he could hope to extricate himself from so hazardous a 
position ; and that same evening he issued the necessary 
orders. However desirable it was to keep possession 
of Orleans, he could not accept battle in so thickly 
wooded country, where the action of his relatively strong 
artillery and cavalry would be seriously impeded, and 
where indeed he might be entirely hemmed in. The 
General, however, determined to strike at the most 
immediately threatening hostile force in the open 
country about Coulmiers, where he would at the same 
time be nearer to the 22nd Division at Chartres, on 
which he could call for support. 

General von Wittich had already asked and obtained 
permission to fall back on Orleans, but on the 9th 


he had only reached Voves, with his cavalry at Or- 
geres ; thus he could not take any direct part in that 
day's fighting. 

The Ilnd Army was in full march from Metz, but on 
this day its head had but just arrived at Troyes. 

(November 9th.) 

Left thus to its own resources, the 1st Bavarian 
Corps moved out in the night, and on the morning 
of the 9th stood concentrated on the skirts of the forest 
between Chateau Montpipeau and Rosieres, with the 
village of Coulmiers in its front. The Bavarian Cui- 
rassiers on the right wing protected the line of retreat 
by St. Sigismoiid ; the 2nd Cavalry Division was dis- 
tributed by brigades along the whole front, with de- 
tachments well in advance and infantry posts ready in 
support. Only a small detachment remained in Or- 
leans after the bridge over the Loiret had been de- 
stroyed, to protect the numerous sick and wounded in 
the field hospitals, and occupy the city at any rate till 
the result of the fight was decided. 

The first reports brought in that morning were of 
the advance of a strong hostile column from Cravant 
on Fontaines and Le Bardon. This was Rebillard's 
Brigade, which, as it seemed, aimed at turning the 
Bavarian left flank and marching direct on Orleans. 
To oppose it on the bank of the Mauve, General von 
der Tann at about nine o'clock sent the 3rd Brigade in 
a southerly direction to Prefort, a little over two miles 
distant, and as at the same time a sharp contest had 
now begun at the outposts near Baccon, the 1st Brigade 


marched to La Renardiere. The remainder of the 
Corps remained in and behind Coulmiers. The Gene- 
ral's intention was to assume the offensive from this 
point against the enemy's left flank, if, as seemed pro- 
bable, the latter should attempt to push his chief 
attack across the Mauve. In furtherance of this inten- 
tion the cavalry of the right flank was ordered to close 
in to Coulmiers. 

But the superior strength of the French allowed of 
their fetching a much wider compass to the left. 
While General d'Aurelle with the XVth Corps de- 
tained the Bavarians southward of the road from 
Ouzouer to Orleans, General Chanzy advanced with 
Barry's Division against their centre and directed 
Jaureguiberry's Division northward against their right ; 
and finally the strong force of French cavalry under 
General Reyau moved in the direction of Patay, thus 
threatening the German communication with Paris. 

This movement of the French XVIth Corps com- 
pelled General von Tann, at the very beginning of the 
engagement, to despatch the 2nd Brigade, which had 
constituted his reserve, to prolong his right wing 
northwards towards Champs, and thus obtain touch 
with the 4th Cavalry Brigade. The Bavarian Cuiras- 
siers, retiring according to orders from St. Peravy to 
the southward, about eleven o'clock encountered 
Reyau's cavalry, which, however, restricted itself to a 
mere cannonade. 

Meanwhile, after a stout resistance, the advanced 
posts of the Bavarians had been driven in by the 
enemy's superior strength. The 1st Rifle Battalion, 
after having retarded the advance of the French horse- 
batteries through Champdry for a long time, retreated 
from Baccon to La Riviere, 1 where it expected to be 
received by the 2nd (Rifle Battalion). But the situa- 

1 According to the Staff History, on La Renardiere and La Grande 


tion of the latter soon became very critical. Peytavin's 
Division closely followed up through Baccon, beset 
La Riviere with five batteries, and then attacked the 
burning village from three sides at once. After ener- 
getic reprisals the Riflemen retired in good order on 
the 1st Brigade in Renardiere, where General Dietl 
had taken up a position for defence. 

After the evacuation of Baccon by the Bavarians, 
Barry's Division had continued its advance through 
Champdry, and its batteries deployed opposite Coul- 
miers and in front of Saintry, in preparation for an 
assault by strong lines of tirailleurs. 

The 4th Bavarian Brigade occupied the park ex- 
tending to the west ; the quarries further in front were 
occupied by two battalions, two others were sent to the 
right to the farmsteads of Ormeteau and Vaurichard, 
so as to keep up some sort of communication with the 
2nd Brigade. One battery to the south and four 
batteries to the north of Coulmiers were supported by 
the 5th Cavalry Brigade. 

Thus at noon the Bavarian Corps, with only three 
brigades, held the ground from Renardiere to the 
front of Ge'migny, its front disproportionately extended 
to a length of more than four miles. But the French 
right wing remained quite inactive, so that the 3rd 
Brigade which had been sent to Prefort was recalled 
to Renardiere. 

When the French Corps had made good its foothold 
opposite the thin Bavarian line, it attacked in earnest 
at about one o'clock. 

The Riflemen in Renardiere had indeed repulsed the 
enemy's first rush, but this position was no longer 
tenable with only four battalions against the whole of 
Peytavin's Division. At about one o'clock General 
Dietl retired unmolested, under cover of an inter- 
mediate position, on the wood of Montpipeau, and 
occupied its border. Here he was joined by the 3rd 
Brigade, which on its retirement from Prefort had 


found Renardiere already evacuated. The French had 
followed up from thence but hesitatingly, came under 
the fire of six batteries between the points of the forests 
at La Planche and Coulmiers, and made no further 
advance with their right wing. 

In the centre Barry's Division about one o'clock 
had driven the Bavarian Riflemen out of the stone- 
quarries in front of Coulmiers. Not till three o'clock 
did it advance to a renewed general attack on the 4th 
Brigade, which was repulsed by the fire of the German 
guns and the repeated charges of the 5th Cavalry 

Meanwhile, d' Aries' Brigade of the XVth French 
Corps, after leaving Renardiere, arrived southward of 
Coulmiers, and its batteries strengthened the fire which 
was being directed on that village. The Bavarian 
guns were compelled before the rush of the French 
tirailleurs to take ground further in rear, where 
they resumed their activity, while the infantry 
drove the French out of the park at the point of the 

But after four hours' fighting the resistance of this 
single brigade against three French brigades had be- 
come extremely arduous. Of the whole Corps only 
two battalions remained intact as a reserve at Bonne- 
ville, no reinforcement was to be looked for from any- 
where, and on the right flank the French threatened 
the communications with Chartres as well as with 
Paris. At four in the afternoon General von der 
Tann gave orders to break off the fight and to retire 
by brigades from the left wing on Artenay. 

Fresh troops of the enemy at this moment forced 
their way into the park of Coulmiers. Colonel Count 
von Ysenburg held the eastern outlets of the village, 
and withdrew his troops by alternate echelons through 
Ge"migmy in good order. 

It now proved of the greatest importance that the 
2nd Brigade should have been able to maintain its 


position in front of this village, thus covering the 
further retreat. 

At noon, General von Orff (in command of the 
Brigade), on approaching Champs and Cheminiers, had 
found these villages occupied by Deplanque's French 
Brigade. First he silenced its artillery, then he 
deployed his four battalions for action, with the 4th 
Cavalry Brigade on the right flank. 

Reyau's Cavalry ere long came up between these 
two villages, after it had given up its two hours' 
cannonade against the Bavarian Cuirassiers and had 
been driven out of St. Sigismond by dismounted 
hussars. But this body of horse soon got out from 
under the fire of the Bavarian guns and moved off to 
the westward, it was said because it mistook Lipkow- 
ski's volunteers, skirmishing further to the north, for 
German reinforcements advancing. And when the 
Bavarian horse-batteries opened fire on Champs from 
the north-east, the French abandoned the place at 
about two o'clock, in great disorder. 

General von Orff now brought the artillery up to 
within 500 paces of Cheminiers, and marched the 
infantry up through the intervals. 

Admiral Jaureguiberry, however, arriving in person, 
succeeded in rallying the wavering troops, and this 
attack failed. The French batteries soon compelled 
the Bavarian horse-batteries to retire. 

When, at about three o'clock, Bourdillon's Brigade 
and the reserve artillery of the XVIth French Corps 
also arrived at Champs, and news was brought of the 
state of the fighting at Coulmiers, General von Orff 
determined to refrain from all further attack, and con- 
fined himself to maintaining his position in front of 
Gemigny to the last extremity. Unshaken by the fire 
of the numerous hostile batteries, the weak brigade 
repulsed the repeated attacks of the enemy. 

Thus the 4th Brigade was enabled unmolested to 
retire from Coulmiers by Gemigny and St. Peravy, 


and the 1st, from Montpipeau further eastward, on 
Coinces. The 2nd Brigade followed to Coinces, and 
finally the 3rd formed the rear-guard as far as St. 
Sigismond, where it halted and bivouacked. The 
cavalry covered the retreat on all sides. 

After a short rest the retreat of the main body was 
continued during the night, by very bad roads. Ar- 
tenay was reached by the morning. Orleans was 
evacuated, and the garrison which had been left there 
rejoined its Corps. The stores were conveyed by rail- 
way back to Toury ; but one ammunition column, 150 
prisoners, and the sick who could not be moved, fell 
into the hands of the French. 

This contest of 20,000 Germans against 70,000 
French cost the former about 800 in killed and 
wounded ; the enemy's loss was nearly double. 

From Artenay, on November 10th, the 2nd Brigade 
undertook the duty of covering the further march on 
Toury, where close quarters were available. Thither, 
too, came the 22nd Division from Chartres, and took 
up a position at Janville close to the Bavarians. 
General von der Tann had extricated himself from a 
difficult position with much skill and good fortune. 
The enemy did not attempt a pursuit. General 
d'Aurelle restricted himself to awaiting further rein- 
forcements in a strong position before Orleans. The 
French preparations were, however, in greater activity 
on the Upper Loir and the Eure. 

On the German side the Ilnd Army Corps arrived 
before Paris on the 5th of November ; the 3rd Division 
was included in the investing line between the Seine 
and Marne ; the 4th moved on to Longjumeau. 

When the Guard Landwehr took possession of the 
peninsula of Argenteuil, a brigade of the IVth Corps 
became available for service on the north side of the 
capital. On the south side, the 17th Division at Ram- 
bouillet, the 22nd at Chartres, and the Bavarian Corps, 
which had moved to\ Ablis, with the 4th and 6th 



Cavalry Divisions, were ultimately formed into a sepa- 
rate Army-Detachment of the Iltrd Army, under the 
command of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, and it 
was ordered to betake itself in the first instance to 


On the 17th of November the 17th Division advanced 
by Maintenon. On the left, a French detachment was 
driven back across the Blaise ; and when a few com- 
panies of marines, who attempted to block the high- 
road, had been disposed of, General von Tresckow 
(commanding the Division) marched into Dreux that 
evening. The combat had cost the Germans 50 men, 
the French 150 and 50 prisoners. 

Prince Frederick Charles, whose forces were now 
at length assembled before Orleans in face of the 
enemy, expressed the wish that the (Grand Duke's) 
Detachment should advance on Tours by way of Le 
Mans. The Grand Duke accordingly marched on 
Nogent le Rotrou, which place, being the central 
rendezvous of the French levies, promised to be the 
scene of an obstinate resistance. 

After several skirmishes the Detachment approached 
the place, but when on the 22nd preparations were 
being made to storm it from three sides, it was found 
that the enemy had already evacuated it. At the 
same time orders arrived from the supreme Head- 
quarter, instructing the Grand Duke to fall back at 
once on Beaugency to join the right wing of the Ilnd 
Army, which it was necessary should immediately be 
reinforced in view of the superior strength of the 
enemy. " The force now massing before Orleans is to 
postpone all hostilities until the arrival of the Detach- 
ment. The slight opposition offered by the French 


on the Eure and Huisne sufficiently shows that no 
serious danger threatens on that side ; the enemy in 
that quarter need only be kept under observation by 
cavalry." The Detachment was not to be permitted 
even a single rest day, and its march was to be 
conducted with the utmost speed. 

On the 23rd, the Divisions had closed up on their 
respective heads, and the Grand Duke on the 24th 
moved on Chateaudun and Vendome ; but the 
Bavarian Corps only got as far as Vibraye, while the 
two Prussian Divisions withdrew from the difficult 
country of the Perche, and the cavalry found the whole 
line of the Loir held by the enemy. 

In fact, the French had sent a brigade of the troops 
massed behind the forest of Marche'noir by railway to 
Vendome, expressly to protect the Government at 
Tours, while General de Sonis had advanced with the 
rest of the XVIIth Corps on Brou. Here on the 25th 
his advance met an ammunition column and bridge- 
train of the Bavarian Corps. At first only the 10th 
Cavalry Brigade could engage the enemy, but when 
presently two companies and eight guns had occupied 
the bridge over the Loir at Yevres, the waggons were 
got through Brou in safety, and the enemy could not 
enter that place till the cavalry had continued its 

The Bavarian Corps was meanwhile advancing on 
Mondoubleau and St. Calais, not certainly the shortest 
route to Beaugency, but, on the contrary, on the direct 
road to Tours. The two Divisions only reached the 
vicinity of Vibraye and Authon. 

The appearance of a hostile force at Brou was 
deemed of sufficient importance to justify a de'tour by 
that place, postponing for the moment the prescribed 
march on the Loire. But when the 22nd Division 
approached Brou on the 26th, it found that the enemy 
had already retired during the night. The Govern- 
ment at Tours had ordered the whole of the XVIIth 


Corps to concentrate at Vendome for their protection. 
But when the German cavalry made its appearance 
at Cloyes and Freteval, General Sonis considered that 
he could not pursue his march further along the Loir, 
and made a detour by Marchenoir. But two night- 
marches so shattered the levies for the first time 
collected in mass that whole swarms of .stragglers 
wandered about the neighbourhood all day and could 
only with difficulty be re-assembled at Beaugency. 

To imbue the operations with unity of command, the 
Grand Duke was now, by instruction from the supreme 
Head-quarter, placed under Prince Frederick Charles's 
orders, and General von Stosch 1 was despatched to 
undertake the duties of Chief of the Staff to the 
Detachment. That force by the Prince's orders was 
to come in with all speed to Janville, whither troops of 
the IXth Corps would be sent to meet it by way of 

The Grand Duke therefore marched, on the 27th, 
with both his (Prussian) Divisions (17th and 22nd) to 
Bonneval, where there was already a squadron of the 
2nd Cavalry Division. The Bavarian Corps, which, 
after finding Brou abandoned, had been directed on 
Courtalin, marched to Chateaudun. Having thus 
accomplished a junction with the Ilnd Army, the sorely 
fatigued troops of the Detachment were allowed a day's 
rest on the 28th, in quarters on the Loir. 

(Second half of November.) 

Prince Frederick Charles had hastened the advance 
of his army as much as possible, but it had met 

1 Until then Commissary-General. He succeeded Colonel von 
Krenski as the Grand Duke's Chief of Staff. 


with many hindrances. The roads were broken up, 
National Guards and franctireurs stood watchful for 
mischief, and even the country people had taken 
up arms. However, by November 14th the IXth 
Corps with the 1st Cavalry Division reached Fontaine- 
bleau, whence it pursued its march to Angerville. 
The Illrd Corps was following on Pithiviers. Of the 
Xth Corps the 40th Brigade was left at Chaumont, to 
make connection with the XlVth Corps ; the 36th 
reached Montargis and Beaune la Rolande on the 21st. 1 
The two brigades following in rear (37th and 39th) 
had a sharp encounter on the 24th at Ladon and 
Maizieres. In this combat 170 French prisoners 
were taken, who belonged to a corps which, as General 
von Werder had already reported, was proceeding 
under General Crouzat's command from Chagny to 
Gien by railway. The order of battle was found on an 
officer who was among the prisoners. 

That while the Grand Duke's Detachment was 
marching to join it, the Ilnd Army, only now fully 
concentrated, was in very close proximity to consider- 
able forces of the enemy, was ascertained beyond doubt 
by several reconnoissances. 

On the 24th troops of the IXth Corps advanced 
along the great high-road. A few shells caused the 
enemy to evacuate Artenay, pursued by the cavalry as 
far as Croix Briquet. Early in the same day a mixed 
detachment of all arms from the Illrd Corps reached 
Neuville aux Bois. Two detachments of the 38th 
Brigade marched on Bois Conimun and Bellegarde, 
but everywhere those inquisitive reconnaissances were 
met by very superior numbers of the enemy. 

It was ascertained that the position of the French 

1 There seems some confusion here. The 36tli Brigade belonged, 
not to the Xth, but to the IXth Corps. The 38th Brigade is stated 
in the Staff History to have reached Beaune la Rolande on 23rd, the 
rest of the Corps (exclusive of the 40th Brigade) still behind at 


before Orleans extended for about 37 miles from the 
Conie to Loing ; and the massing of troops, especially 
on their (right) fla.nk, made it highly probable that 
they proposed advancing by Fontainebleau on the rear 
of the besieging army. Still, this intention was not 
so evident as to justify Prince Frederick Charles in 
leaving the great highways from Orleans to Paris un- 
guarded. However, to enable him to lend his left wing 
timely support in case of need, he moved the 5th 
Infantry Division of the Illrd Corps and the 1st 
Cavalry Division to Boynes, nearer to the Xth Corps 
which was weak, and the 6th Division occupied 
Pithiviers in their stead. The quarters at Bazoches 
vacated by the 6th Division, were assigned to the IXth 
Corps. Finally, the Grand Duke received orders to 
reach Toury with his heads of columns by the 29th at 
latest. These dispositions were all carried out in due 

Immediately after its success at Coulmiers the French 
Army of the Loire seemed for the moment only to have 
thought of securing itself against a counter-blow. It 
retired on Orleans, threw up extensive entrenchments, 
for which marine artillery was even brought up from 
Cherbourg, and awaited the arrival of further rein- 
forcements. The XXth Corps, already mentioned, 
40,000 strong, joined the XVth, XVIth, and XVIIth 
at Gien, in addition to one Division of the XVIIIth 
newly assembled at Nevers, and finally the volunteer 
bands under Cathelineau and Lipowski. 

Thus the French Army round Orleans numbered 
200,000 ; the German infantry opposed to this host for 
the time reached a strength of not more than 45,000 

Gambetta soon became urgent for renewed offensive 
operations. As General d'Aurelle raised objections to 
an advance by Pithiviers and Malesherbes, the Dictator 
himself took in hand the dispositions. In the night of 
the 22nd-23rd he telegraphed orders from Tours that 


the XVth Corps was at once to assemble at Chilleurs 
aux Bois and reach Pithiviers on the 24th ; the 
XXth to march to Beaune la Rolande ; and that then 
both Corps were to advance by way of Fontainebleau 
on Paris. The General pointed out that, according 
to his reckoning, 80,000 Germans must be en- 
countered in an open country, and that it would be 
more advisable to await their attack in an intrenched 
position. Further, that this movement could be of no 
service in affording succour to the distressed capital, 
and that meanwhile there would remain unperformed 
the strengthening of the right wing, where on the 24th 
the unsteadiness of the XVIIIth and XXth Corps had 
caused the loss of the already mentioned fight at Ladon 
and Maizieres. 

In accordance with instructions received from Tours 
on the 26th, General Crouzat ordered the advance for 
the 28th of the two Corps he commanded the XVIIIth 
by the right through Juranville, the XXth by the left 
through Bois Commun for an encompassing attack on 
Beaune la Rolande. The XVth Corps in addition was 
moved up to Chambon in support, and Cathelineau's 
volunteers went forward to Courcelles. 

As we have seen, on this same day the Grand Duke's 
Detachment had come up on the extreme right of the 
Ilnd German Army. On the left stood the Xth Corps 
with the 38th Brigade at Beaune, the 39th at Les 
Cotelles ; the 37th, with the Corps artillery, had 
advanced to Marcilly between these two places. 


(November 28th.) 

The French attack on November 28th failed because 
of the miscarriage of the projected combination, the 


two separate attempts exerting little reciprocal influence. 
On the right, the head of the XVIIIth Corps struck 
the outposts of the 39th Brigade at an early hour, in 
front of Juranville and Lorcy. Not until after a stout 
resistance were these driven in by about nine o'clock 
on Les Cotelles and behind the railway-embankment 
at Corbeilles, where they took possession of the park. 

The French could now deploy in the open country 
in front of Juranville, and following up with strong 
lines of tirailleurs preceding them, they forced their 
way into Corbeilles and drove the garrison out to the 
north and west. But meanwhile, on the other side, a 
reinforcement from the reserve at Marcilly reached Les 
Cotelles, and now Colonel von Valentini passed to 
the attack of Juranville with the 56th Regiment. The 
artillery could afford no co-operation, the enemy made 
an obstinate resistance, and not till noon did he begin 
to retreat, while bitter fighting still continued round 
some detached houses. But when strong columns 
came up from Maizieres and Corbeilles, the Germans 
were compelled to abandon the conquered village, 
carrying off with them 300 prisoners. 

About two o'clock the greater portion of the French 
Corps deployed near Juranville for an attack on the 
position at Long Cour, into which the 39th Brigade 
had retired. But since the attack had not been pre- 
pared by artillery, it came to nothing under the fire of 
five Prussian batteries. 

The first attack on Les Cotelles was also repulsed, 
but when it was repeated an hour later, the Germans had 
to abandon the place with the loss of fifty men taken 
prisoners. A gun, seven of the gunners of which had 
fallen, sank so deep in the soft ground that the few 
men left could not drag it out. 

The XVIIIth French Corps, however, made no 
further way, but, as dusk came on, contented itself with 
an ineffective cannonade, and finally the 39th Brigade 
was able to maintain its position abreast of Beaune. 



On the left wing of the French line of battle the 
attack had also from the first been of an encompassing 
tendency, the 2nd Division of the XXth Corps having 
advanced on Beaurie, and the 1st on Batilly. But it 
was near noon before the arrival of part of its 3rd 
Division, which had remained in reserve, enabled the 
enemy to drive in the German advanced posts from 
Bois de la Leu to the cross-roads north-west of Beaune. 
And here also the 38th Brigade soon found itself under 
the artillery and infantry fire from Pierre Percee, the 
enemy continually gaining ground from the northward. 
The retreat had to be continued along the Cassar 
road, whereon a gun, of which the men and horses had 
for the most part perished, fell into the enemy's hands. 
About the same time the 2nd French Division ascended 
the heights to the east of Beaune, and Colonel von 
Cranach was first enabled to rally the 57th Regiment 
further rearward, near La Rue Boussier, whereby the 
withdrawal of the batteries hurrying away from Marcilly 
was covered, and the further advance of the enemy was 
then arrested. Any such effort on his part entirely 
ceased when he was suddenly threatened on his own flank 
by the 1st Prussian Cavalry Division advancing from 
Boynes, and came under fire of its horse-batteries. 

Meanwhile the 16th Regiment found itself completely 
isolated in Beaune, and surrounded on three sides by 
the enemy. 

The town, which was surrounded by the remains of 
a high wall, and the churchyard were as far as possible 
prepared for defence. The enemy, after his first onset 
by strong swarms of riflemen had been driven back, 
set about bombarding the town. His shells burst 
through the walls of the churchyard and set a few 
buildings on fire, but every attempt at an assault was 
steadfastly repulsed. 

In the meantime, General von Woyna had replenished 
the ammunition of his batteries, and while occupying 
Romainville on , the right, he also took up a position 


opposite the copses of Pierre Percee, so that by three 
o'clock he was able to bring up seven companies on the 
east side of Beaune. 

About this time assistance came with the arrival 
of the Illrd Army Corps. While the 6th Division was 
still pressing on towards Pithiviers, the 5th had already 
that morning stood to arms in front of .that place. 
The first news from Beaune had sounded so far from 
alarming, that the Corps-artillery retired to its quarters. 
Nevertheless, in consequence of the increasing cannon 
thunder and later information of a serious encounter, 
General von Alvensleben gave the word for the Corps 
to advance, with the 5th Division of which General 
von Stiilpnagel had already set out of his own initiative. 
The 6th followed, and detached a battalion to observe 
owards Courcelles ; wherein, however, Cathelineau's 
volunteers remained inactive. 

Part of the 52nd Regiment, which was marching at 
the head of the column, turned off to the right, and, 
supported by artillery, began a fire-fight about 4.30 
against Arconville and Batilly. Another part pene- 
trated into the Bois de la Leu and the copses near La 
Pierre Percee, where it re-captured the gun which had 
been lost there earlier. Four batteries in position on 
the road from Pithiviers, behind Fosse des Pres, 
directed their fire on the enemy still holding his ground 
on the west side of Beaune, from which he was finally 
driven by the 12th Regiment, and pursued as far as 
Mont Barrois. 

After dark the Xth Corps encamped about Long Cour, 
Beaune and Batilly, and the 5th Division in its rear ; 
the 6th remained at Boynes, where the 1st Division of 
Cavalry also found accommodation. 

In the battle of Beaune la Rolande General von 
Voigts-Rhetz had to hold his ground against the enemy 
with 11,000 men against 60,000, with three brigades 
against six Divisions, until help reached him towards 
evening. This action cost the Germans 900 and the 



French 1300 men in killed and wounded; and 1800 
un wounded prisoners fell into the hands of the 

In the evening the French X Xth Corps had retreated 
as far as Bois Cornmun and Bellegarde ; the XVIIIth, 
on the contrary, had taken up its position near Ver- 
nouille and Juranville, in fact, directly in front of the 
Xth German Corps, on the ground which the former 
had won. The expectation was therefore not unnatural 
that the fighting would recommence on the morrow. 

Prince Frederick Charles, therefore, directed the Xth 
and lllrd Corps to assemble on the 29th in full pre- 
paredness. The I Xth received orders to advance with 
two brigades towards Boynes and Bazoches, and the 
remaining troops were to follow as soon as the Grand 
Duke's Detachment should have reached the main road 
to Paris. Of it in the course of the day the heads 
arrived, the 4th Cavalry Division at Toury, the infantry 
at Allaines and Orgeres. The 6th Cavalry Division, 
which was marching on the right flank, met first with 
opposition at Tournoisis. 

Meanwhile General Crouzat had been instructed from 
Tours by a message which reached him on the evening 
of the 28th, to desist for the present from further 
offensive attack, and the French right wing was there- 
upon drawn further back. On the 30th both Corps 
moved leftward, in order to be again nearer to the 
XVth. For the purpose of disguising this lateral 
movement, detachments were sent in a northerly 
direction and met reconnoitring parties of the German 
Xth and lllrd Corps, with which skirmishes took 
place at Maizieres, St. Loup and Mont Barrois ; and 
the movement of the French was soon detected, in the 
first instance on their left flank. 

The Government at Tours had received news from 
Paris that General Ducrot would attempt on the 
29th to break through the German investing lines with 
100,000 men and 400 guns, and endeavour to connect 


with the Army of the Loire in a southerly direction. 
The balloon which carried this despatch had descended 
in Norway, whence the message had been forwarded. 
It was concluded from this that the General was already 
vigorously engaged, and that help must be no longer 
delayed. Commissioned by Gambetta, M. Freycinet 
submitted to a council of war called by General 
d'Aurelle, a scheme for the advance of the whole army 
on Pithiviers. In the event of a refusal by the Com- 
mander-in-Chief to accept the same, M. Freycinet carried 
an order for his supersession. 

It was decided in the first place to execute a wheel 
to the right with the left wing, Chilleurs aux Bois 
forming the pivot of the movement. While a front was 
thus being formed against Pithiviers, the Corps of 
the right wing on a parallel front were to await the 
order to move until this was accomplished. The 
XXIst Corps was to be sent to Vendome to cover the 
left flank. 


As the result of those dispositions, on the 1st of 
December the XVIth Corps moved on Orgeres, in the 
direction of the railway ; the XVIIth followed to Patay 
and St. Peravy. 

Opposite to these forces, on the right wing of the 
Ilnd German Army the 17th Division of the Grand 
Duke's Detachment had arrived at Bazoches, the 22nd 
at Toury, and the Bavarian Corps reached the vicinity 
of Orgeres. Thus the hostile shock fell first on the 
last body. Attacked in front by a far superior force, 
and threatened in flank by Michel's Cavalry Division, 
the 1st Bavarian Brigade was forced to retreat at three 


o'clock to Villepion. The 2nd Brigade approaching 
from Orgeres, halted to the west of Nonneville, and the 
4th marched up to between Villepion and Faverolles, 
which position the Bavarians, in spite of heavy losses, 
succeeded in holding for a long time. On their right 
wing Prince Leopold of Bavaria, with the four guns 
of his battery still serviceable, arrested the enemy's 
advance on Nonneville, but under the personal leader- 
ship of Admiral Jaureguiberry the French forced their 
way into Villepion. As night drew on, and the want 
of ammunition was becoming serious, the 1st Bavarian 
Brigade went to Loigny ; the 2nd, however, did not re- 
treat until five o'clock to Orgeres, where also the 3rd 
arrived in the evening, whilst the 4th joined the 1st 
at Loigny. 

The engagement cost both sides about 1000 men, and 
only the foremost Bavarian detachments were forced 
back for a short distance. 

This measure of success, and the news from Paris, re- 
kindled in Tours ardent hopes of victory. As will 'be 
seen further on, a sortie from Paris on 30th November 
had certainly so far succeeded that the village of Epinay 
on the northern section of the line of investment 
was occupied for a short time. Thereupon it was 
summarily concluded that this was the village of the 
same name which lay to the south near Longjumeau, 
and that there was now scarcely any obstacle to the 
junction of the Army of Orleans with that of Paris. 
Cathelineau's volunteer Corps was directed at once 
to occupy the forest of Fontainebleau, and the imminent 
annihilation of the Germans was announced to the 

The head of the Army of Orleans, nevertheless, had 
barely made half a day's march in the direction of Paris, 
and the right wheel of the left wing remained to be ac- 
complished. The XVIth Corps was to attempt to reach 
the line Allaines-Toury by the 2nd of December ; the 
XVIIth was to follow, and the XVth, marching from 


Chilleurs through Artenay, was to close to the right. 
The Grand Duke, on the report of the great force in 
which the enemy was approaching, determined to 
march to meet him with the whole strength of the 
Detachment. The requisite orders were issued at eight 
o'clock in the morning to the Divisions, which were 
already standing prepared on their respective assem- 
bling-grounds. The Bavarian Corps was * directed to 
take up a position opposite Loigny with its left wing 
at Chateau-Goury ; the 17th Division to march im- 
mediately from Santilly to Lumeau, and the 22nd from 
Tivernon to Baigneaux. The cavalry was to undertake 
the protection of both wings. 

(December 2nd.) 

The Bavarian Corps was still engaged in the advance 
from Maladerie when the French ascended the heights 
to the west of Loigny. The 1st Division, therefore, 
marched towards Villeprevost, and the 2nd held the 
line Beauvilliers-Goury. 

At 8 a.m. General Chanzy set out with his 2nd 
and 3rd Divisions from Terminiers, for Loigny and 
Lumeau. The 1st followed in reserve, and Michel's 
Cavalry Division covered the left flank. In spite of 
the strong fire of the defenders, the 2nd Division by 
nine o'clock advanced close upon Beauvilliers, but then 
it had to give way before the onset of the Bavarians, 
who now on their side attacked Loigny. When, 
however, at 10.30 the whole French Corps advanced, 
deployed on a broad front from Nonneville to Neu- 
villiers, they had to fall back with great losses. They, 
however, found a rallying point at Beauvilliers, where 
the fire of the Corps artillery gave pause to the 
advance of the enemy. 


The combat surged backwards and forwards until, at 
11.30, the 2nd Bavarian Brigade joined in the fray. 
The 4th Cavalry Division charged the left flank of the 
enemy ; and Michel's Division fell back on the XVIIth 
Corps, numerous prisoners thus falling into the hands 
of the German troopers. In the meantime the Bavarian 
infantry had marched to Ferme Morale with intent to 
renew the attack, but there found itself under fire so 
destructive that it was forced to turn back. Thereupon 
the horse-batteries on the flank enfiladed the enemy's 
wing with such effect, that the farm was set on fire and 
General von Orff found himself able to take possession 
of it. 

At Beauvilliers, meanwhile, the 2nd Division had 
only with great difficulty resisted the vigorous on- 
slaughts of the French, whose rifle-swarms were already 
so close that the batteries were compelled to retire 
to positions further back. But the success of the right 
wing soon extended to the left. Breaking out from Beau- 
villiers, as well as from Chateau Goury, the Bavarians 
drove Jaureguiberry's Division back to Loigny. 

Shortly after noon the firing of the French became 
again remarkably energetic, especially against Chateau 
Goury. The battalions of the Bavarian left wing were 
forced back upon the park. 

During these events the two Prussian Divisions had 
continued their advance. The artillery of the 17th 
pressed on in order to engage the enemy, while the 
head of the infantry reached Lumeau in time to prevent 
its occupation by the opposing forces. Strong swarms 
of French riflemen fought their way up quite close to 
the place, but they were finally driven back by 
a well-directed fire of musketry and shell ; where- 
upon the Division assailed the right flank of the French 

The 22nd Division also marched through Baigneaux 
to Anneux, and joined in the pursuit of the re- 
treating enemy. A number of prisoners and a battery 
were captured, and the enemy, after a vain attempt to 


make another stand near Neuvilliers, at last fled towards 
Terminiers in utter disorder. 

After this result of the fighting about Lumeau, 
General von Tresckow was able to go to the assistance 
of the hard-pressed left wing of the Bavarians. Under 
cover of the fire of eight batteries the 33rd Brigade 
moved against the flank of the French masses which 
were now making a fierce attack on Chateau Goury. 
Taken by surprise, these retired upon Loigny. But 
there, too, the Mecklenburg battalions forced in, 
shoulder to shoulder with the Bavarians, and it was 
only in the churchyard on high ground at the west 
end of the village, that an obstinate resistance was 
made for some time longer. The French, as they 
retired on Villepion, suffered from a destructive fire 
from eighty guns massed near Loigny. 

At 2.30 General von der Tann caused the whole of 
his 1st Division, after the replenishment of its ammu- 
nition, to advance once more ; this movement, however, 
was arrested by the fire of the enemy. 

Michel's Division moved up to oppose the advance of 
the German cavalry on the right flank, but went about 
as soon as it came within range of the horse-batteries. 

Because of the exposed condition of his right flank, 
General Chanzy had sent a few battalions to form a 
refused flank l near Terre-noire. Behind this a brigade 
of the XVIIth Corps came up near Faverolles, and to 
the right of Villepion the Papal Zouaves advanced 
against Villours. 

General von Tresckow now threw in his last re- 
serves. Two battalions of the 75th Regiment broke 
into the place at the first charge, and in conjunction 
with all the troops fighting in the vicinity, drove back 
the French columns to Villepion. 

The approach of darkness brought the fighting here 
to a close. 

1 To the German term " Hakcn-stellung " there is perhaps no pre- 
cisely equivalent expression in our military vocabulary. "Refused 
flank " is probably approximate. 


While the French XVIth Corps had been fighting 
single-handed with great persistence all day, the XV th, 
according to orders, had advanced through Artenay 
along the Paris high-road. There it was opposed only 
by the 3rd Cavalry Brigade. That force was attacked 
about mid-day near Dambron by the 3rd French 
Division, Avhich formed the left-flank column, while the 
other two Divisions held much further to the right. 

So soon as this information came in from the cavalry, 
General von Wittich moved off with the whole of the 
22nd Division from Anneux in the direction of Poupry. 
The head of the column reached that place at the 
double, and succeeded in driving back the enemy, who 
had already broken in there and occupied the forest 
belts to the north. Six batteries then came into action, 
resting on Morale to the south. The French deployed 
between Dambron and Autroches, and maintained a 
persistent fire while their remaining Divisions came up. 
After an encounter with the troops from Poupry, they 
occupied with their right wing the small copses which 
lay near, in front of the forest-land to the north, placed 
the artillery in the intervals, and began at three o'clock 
an attack from thence. This, however, withered under 
a fire of grape-shot from the defenders, and the menace 
of a charge by the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, which General 
von Colomb had set in motion in the open country to 
the west of Dambron. An attack on Morale by the 
left wing from Autroches likewise miscarried. But at 
four o'clock the French advanced along their whole 
front, preceded by great swarms of tirailleurs. They 
were repulsed at Poupry, and likewise at Morale, at 
which latter place two companies of pioneers joined in 
the fight * on the other hand, their right wing pushed 
into the forest, and compelled its defenders to retreat. 
But Prussian battalions yet remaining in reserve, 
advanced from Poupry, and drove the enemy back into 
the copses, where he had still to defend himself against 
an attack by the cavalry. 


The fighting was now stopped by the approach of 
night. The 22nd Division remained under arms till 
eleven o'clock in the position which it had seized, and 
only then withdrew to Anneux. The 3rd Cavalry 
Division quartered for the night in Baigneaux. The 
17th Division remained in position near Lumeau, having 
Loigny in its front, which it occupied in concert with 
the Bavarians, who extended further to the right as 
far as Orgeres. 

The day had cost the French 4000 killed and wounded, 
and the Germans fully as many, but 2500 unwounded 
prisoners, eight guns, one mitrailleuse and a standard be- 
longing to the enemy were left in possession of the latter. 

On the French side, the XVth Corps retired to 
Artenay and received orders, under cover of a Division 
to be left there, to occupy the defensive position pre- 
viously held on the skirt of the forest. 

Thus the intended further advance of the left wing 
of the Army of Orleans had not succeeded. The XVIth 
Corps, lacking the support of the XVIIth, had indeed 
lost ground, but still maintained itself with its most 
advanced line on Villepion, Faverolles and Terminiers. 
General Chanzy therefore considered himself justified 
in making yet another effort against the German right 
wing on the following day. 

The German strength consisted of five Corps, and 
stood close in front of the enemy ; further reinforce- 
ments could not be immediately expected, but by the 
supreme Command it was judged that the moment had 
now come to put an end to the standing menace from 
the south against the investment of Paris. 

At mid-day of the 2nd, the order came from the Royal 
Head-quarter to undertake an attack on Orleans in full 
strength, and in the course of that day Prince Fred- 
erick Charles gave the requisite instructions to this end. 

It is here necessary to go back a little in order to see 
how circumstances developed events during November 
at various other points. 



The tidings, which became known on the 14th Novem- 
ber, of the happy result of the action at Coulmiers on 
the 9th, had rekindled in Paris universal hope. No one 
doubted that the enemy would find it necessary to send 
large forces in the Orleans direction, which would con- 
siderably weaken the investment line, particularly in 
its southern section. 

In order to contribute towards the hoped-for ap- 
proaching relief by active co-operation, three separate 
armies were formed out of the garrison of Paris. 

The first, under General Cle'ment Thomas, consisted 
of 226 battalions of the National Guard, in round 
numbers 130,000 men. Its duty was the defence of the 
enceinte and the maintenance of quietude within the 
city. The second, under General Ducrot, constituted the 
most trustworthy element, especially the troops of the 
former XHIth and XlVth Corps. This army was 
apportioned into three (Infantry) Corps and one Cavalry 
Division, and it consisted of fully 100,000 men and 
more than 300 guns. It was designed for active ser- 
vice in the field, and for making sorties on the invest- 
ing forces. The third army, under General Vinoy, 
70,000 strong, was made up of six Divisions of Gardes- 
Mobiles and one Cavalry Division ; and to it also 
Maud'huy's Division of the line was assigned. It was 
to aid the more important sorties by diversions on sub- 
ordinate fronts. In addition to all these details, 80,000 
Gardes-Mobiles were in the forts, and 35,000 more in 
St. Denis under Admiral de la Ronciere. 

The available military strength consequently amounted 
to above 400,000 men. 

The garrison exhibited a lively activity in petty 
nocturnal enterprises. The heavy guns of the defences 
carried to Choisy le Roi, and even as far as Beaure- 
gard, near Versailles. On the peninsula of Genne- 
villiers trenchwork was energetically set about, and the 


task of bridge-building was undertaken. Many signs 
pointed to an intended effort on the part of the French 
to break out in a westerly direction. But since, as 
long as the Ilnd Army was still incomplete, the 
greatest danger threatened from the south, the supreme 
Command in Versailles, as already mentioned, ordered 
the Ilnd Corps into the position behind the Yvette 
from Villeneuve to Saclay. On the north of Paris the 
Guard Corps extended itself leftward as far as Aulnay, 
the Xllth sent one brigade across to the south bank of 
the Marne, and the Wiirtemberg Division moved into 
the interval between the Marne and the Seine caused by 
the shifting of the Ilnd Corps. 

On November 18th the summons from Tours reached 
Paris, calling on the latter with all promptitude to 
reach the hand to the Army of the Loire ; certainly 
somewhat prematurely, since, as we know, that army 
was at the time concerning itself only in regard to 
defensive measures. 

In Paris all preparations were actually made . for a 
great sortie. But as the earlier attacks on the front of 
the YIth Corps had shown that this section of the in- 
vestment was materially strengthened by fortifications 
about Thiais and Chevilly, it was decided in the first 
instance to gain the plateau east of Joinville and from 
thence to bend rightward towards the south. The atten- 
tion of the Germans was to be distracted by attacks in 
the opposite direction. 

On the 18th, 1 the day on which the Army of Orleans 
had vainly striven to press forward to Beaune la Ro- 
lande, General Ducrot assembled the Ilnd Army of 
Paris in the neighbourhood of Vincennes, and Mont 
Avron was occupied on the following day by Hugues' 
Division of the Illrd Army. As, however, the con- 
struction of the bridges (over the Marne) at Cham- 
pigny and Bry was delayed, the battle was postponed 
till the 30th ; but it was left to the commanders of the 

1 Obvious misprint for 28th. 


subordinate affairs to carry them out simultaneously 
with the chief enterprise or in advance of it. Accord- 
ingly, Maud'huy's Division assembled in the night of 
28th-29th behind the redoubt of Hautes Bruyeres, 
and advanced against L'Hay before daybreak. 

Warned by the heavy firing from the southern forts, 
General von Tiimpling (commanding Vlth Corps) had 
early ordered the 12th Division to get under arms in its 
fighting positions, and the llth to assemble at Fresnes. 

The French, favoured by the darkness, made their 
way through the vineyards into L'Hay ; but were suc- 
cessfully driven back by the Germans with the bayonet 
and clubbed arms. 

After a prolonged fire-fight, the French renewed 
their onslaught at 8.30, but without success ; and then 
the defenders, reinforced from the reserve, retaliated 
with a vigorous counterstroke. At ten o'clock the 
enemy retreated to Villejuif. 

Admiral Pothuau at the same time had moved up the 
Seine with Marines and National Guards. An outpost 
at Gare aux Boeufs was surprised and captured, and 
Choisy le Roi was fired upon by field-guns, fortress 
artillery, and gunboats which appeared on the Seine. 
Just as the Grenadiers of the 10th (Prussian) Regiment 
were on the point of making an attack, General 
Vinoy broke off the fight. 

This demonstration cost the French 1000 men and 
300 uninjured prisoners ; the Prussians, remaining 
under cover, lost only 140 men. The fortress kept up 
its fire till mid-day, and then the enemy was allowed a 
short truce, to remove his numerous wounded. 

Against the front of the Vth Corps also, a strong 
infantry force advanced at eight o'clock upon Garches 
and Malmaison, and drove in part of the outposts. But 
it soon found itself opposed by closed battalions, and at 
noon retreated to Valerien. 




(November 30th and December 2nd.) 

On November 30th the Ilnd Paris Army opened 
the battle which was to decide the fate of the capital. 

To hinder the reinforcement of the Germans towards 
the real point of attack, almost every section of their 
line of investment was again engrossed by sorties. 

To the duty of pushing an attack against the southern 
front, General Ducrot assigned Susbielle's Division of 
his Ilnd Corps. It reached Rosny so early as three 
o'clock in the morning, crossed the Marne at Cre'teil by 
a field-bridge, and from thence, briskly supported by 
the nearest forts, opened fire on the outpost line of the 
Wiirtemberg Division, which had been pushed forward 
to Bonneuil and Mesly. 

General von Obernitz (commanding the Division) had 
an extended position to maintain. His 1st Brigade was 
at Villiers on the peninsula of Joinville, his 2nd at 
Sucy en Brie, and his 3rd at Brevannes. The Division 
was placed under the Commander of the Army of the 
Meuse, who had been instructed from Versailles to re- 
inforce it strongly by the Xllth Corps, or even by 
troops of the Guard Corps. 

From the great accumulation of hostile forces on 
Mont Avron, the Saxon Corps believed itself directly 
threatened on the right bank of the Marne, and re- 
quested to be immediately transferred to the left ; the 
Crown Prince of Saxony gave the order that the whole 
24th Division should assemble there on the following day. 

Thus for the present the only aid that could be ren- 
dered to the Wiirtembergers was from the wing of the 
Ilnd Corps at Villeneuve, of which the 7th Infantry 
Brigade moved up near Brevannes to Valenton. 

The fire of its three batteries hurrying thither, first 
brought the advance of the French Division to a stand. 


The attempt of the Wiirtembergers to seize Mont-Mesly 
failed at first ; but after a strenuous artillery fire they 
succeeded in carrying the hill by twelve o'clock, and 
the Prussian battalions forced their way into Mesly. 
The Wiirtemberg horse cut in upon the enemy's re- 
treating guns with great success. At 1.30 the reopen- 
ing of the fire from the forts proclaimed the end of 
this sortie. It cost the Germans 350 men, and the 
French 1200. 

During this time the front of the Vlth Corps had not 
been at all molested. General Vinoy, who had not 
been informed of the advance of Susbielle's Division, 
when its retreat was noticed caused to be opened from 
Fort Ivry and the adjoining works a brisk fire, which 
was augmented by gunboats on the Seine and armour- 
plated batteries on the railway. Then Admiral 
Pothuau advanced against Choisy le Roi and Thiais. 
His Marines, after driving out the Prussian fore- 
posts, again settled themselves firmly in Gare aux 
Bceufs. But the further advance failed, and General 
Vinoy recalled his troops, after which the fighting 
at Mesly ceased, and only the thunder of artillery 
continued till five o'clock. 

After a preliminary cannonade from Valerien the 
Gardes-Mobiles advanced against the front of the Vth 
Corps about seven o'clock. They were, however, re- 
pulsed by the outposts and supporting troops in readi- 
ness, and retired at eleven o'clock. 

On the northern front of Paris there occurred also 
a sharp fight. At mid-day Fort de la Briche, sup- 
ported by field-guns and a floating battery, opened a 
heavy fire on the low-lying village of Epinay on the 
right bank of the Seine. At two o'clock Haurion's 
Brigade advanced, two companies of marines pressed 
into the place along the bank of the river, and drove 
out the garrison, which consisted of only one company. 
A second alsQ retired from the defence- works in a 
northerly direction towards Ormesson. At three 


o'clock in the afternoon, the village, tip to some still 
obstinately defended farms on the further side of the 
mill-race, fell into the hands of the French. 

Meanwhile the troops of the IVth Corps had assem- 
bled, and seven batteries came into action on the over- 
hanging heights. The infantry rushed upon the village- 
from all sides with loud cheers, and about four o'clock, 
after a fierce street-fight, recovered possession of the 
posts which had been lost ; and it was this transitory 
conquest that was to raise so great hopes in Tours. 
The losses on both sides amounted to 300 men. 

Those affairs were all mere feints to facilitate the chief 
action ; and whilst the investing troops were thus 
engaged and held fast at all points, two Corps of the 
Ilnd French Army at 6.30 in the morning crossed the 
bridges at Joinville and Nogent which had been com- 
pleted during the night. After repulsing the German 
outposts they both deployed, and stretched completely 
across the peninsula between Champigny and Bry. 
The Illrd Corps had taken the road along the north 
bank of the Marne, towards Neuilly, to cross the river 
there, thus threatening to compromise the position 
of the Saxon Corps, which therefore still detained the 
47th Brigade on the right bank, though it had been 
assigned to the assistance of the Wiirtembergers. 
Consequently there were available to oppose the two 
French Corps on the left bank, only two German 
brigades extended over about four miles, the Saxon 
48th about Noisy, and the Wiirtemberg 1st from 
Villiers to Chennevieres. 

At ten o'clock Maussion's Division advanced against 
the Park of Villiers. Supported by Saxon detachments 
from Noisy, the Wiirtembergers repulsed a first attack, 
but in following it up met with heavy losses. The 
French batteries of two Divisions and those of the 
Artillery Reserve formed line in front of the park. 
On their right Faron's Division, not without heavy 
losses, succeeded in gaining possession of Champigny, 



and had then established itself in front of that village 
to defend the occupation of it. 

General Ducrot's original idea had been to maintain 
a stationary fight on the peninsula until he should be 
joined at Noisy by his Illrd Corps. But as news 
arrived that at eleven o'clock it was still on the 
northern side of the Mame, he ordered an immediate 
general attack by both his other Corps. 

On the left the advance was checked for a consider^ 
able time by the German batteries which had been 
pushed forward between Noisy and Villiers, and when 
Colonel von Abendroth moved out from both villages 
with six companies of the 48th Brigade to an attack in 
close formation, the French fell back into the vine- 
yards on the western slope of the plateau, leaving 
behind two guns, which, however, the Saxons could 
not cany away for want of teams. 

In the centre of the line of fight, Berthaut's Division 
tried to push forward south of Villiers, but by the fire 
of five batteries in position there and at Coeuilly its 
ranks were so severely thinned that it gave ground 
before the advance of a Saxon battalion. 

On the right wing, the guns which had been brought 
up into position in front of Champigny had at last been 
compelled by the German artillery to withdraw, and 
had sought cover further north, near the lime-kilns. A 
body of French infantry had advanced along the river- 
side to Maison Blanche, but meanwhile the 2nd Wurtein- 
berg Brigade, although itself attacked at Sucy, de- 
spatched a reinforcement of two companies and a battery 
to Chennevieres. Advancing from the Hunting-lodge, 
the Wlirtembergers took 200 French prisoners at 
Maison Blanche ; though, on the other hand, an attempt 
to carry the heights in front of Champigny with the com- 
panies assembled at Coeuilly failed with heavy loss. As 
the result, however, of a renewed flank-attack from the 
Hunting-lodge, Faron's Division, which had already been 
severely shaken, was obliged to retreat to Champigny. 


General Ducrot decided to be content, for that day, 
with having established a firm footing on the left bank 
of the Marne, and he brought up sixteen batteries to a 
position in his front, to secure the wedge of ground he 
had gained. On the following day the attack was to be 
renewed by all the three Corps. 

The Germans, on their part, had to congratulate 
themselves on having maintained their ground against 
greatly superior numbers. And so in the afternoon the 
fight gradually died away, until it broke out again in 
the north. 

The French Illrd Corps, marching up the right bank 
of the Marne, had occupied Neuilly in force, and had 
driven in the outposts of the Saxon 47th Brigade. 
Under cover of six batteries the construction of two 
military bridges below Neuilly was begun at ten o'clock, 
and finished by noon. But just at this time it hap- 
pened, as we have seen, that the French were in retreat 
from the plateau, so the crossing did not occur until 
two o'clock in the afternoon. Bellemare's Division 
marched down the valley to Bry, where it closed on 
the left flank of the Ilnd Corps. A regiment of 
Zouaves, trying to ascend the plateau from Bry, lost half 
its men and all its oificers. Notwithstanding, General 
Ducrot decided to employ his reinforced strength 
in the immediate renewal of the attack on Villiers. 

Strengthened by four battalions, the Division ad- 
vanced in this direction, although the artillery had not 
succeeded in battering down the park wall ; repeated 
onslaughts by rifle-swarms were repulsed, and finally 
the French retreated into the valley. The simulta- 
neous attacks of Berthaut's Division along the railway 
line and of Faron's Division on the Hunting-lodge 
also miscarried. Not till darkness had set in did the 
firing cease on both sides. 

Near Chelles, on the line in which the French Illrd 
Corps had been advancing in the morning, the Crown 
Prince of Saxony had collected the 23rd Division ; but as 


soon as the enemy's real objective was penetrated, he 
despatched part of the 47th Brigade and a portion of 
the Corps Artillery to the threatened position held by 
the Wiirtembergers. Not less opportunely had General 
von Obernitz, as soon as the fighting at Mesly was 
over, sent three battalions to the Hunting-lodge. In the 
night orders came from the supreme Head-quarter for 
the Ilnd and Vlth Corps to send reinforcements to the 
endangered points of the line of investment, and the 
7th and 21st Brigades arrived at Sucy on the folio wing 
day, the 1st of December. 

On the French side the attempt to break through 
without help from outside was already considered as 
well-nigh hopeless, and it was only the fear of popular 
indignation which caused the Illrd Army to remain 
longer on the left bank of the Marne. Instead of 
attacking, the French began to intrench themselves, 
and in order to clear the battlefield a truce was 
arranged. The thunder of the cannon from Mont 
Avron had to serve for the present to keep up the 
spirits of the Parisians. The Germans also worked 
at the strengthening of their positions, but, suffering 
from the sudden and extreme cold, part at least of the 
troops withdrew into quarters further rearward. 

The command of the whole of the German Army 
between the Marne and the Seine was assumed by 
General von Fransecky (commanding Ilnd Corps). 
The Head-quarter of the Army of the Meuse had 
already given instructions that Prince George (of 
Saxony) with all the available troops of the Xllth 
Corps, should make surprise-attacks on Bry and Cham- 
pigny in the early morning of the 2nd. 

With this object, on the morning specified the 24th 
Division assembled at Noisy, the 1st Wiirtemberg 
Brigade at Villiers, and the 7th Prussian Brigade at 
the Hunting-lodge. 

The foremost battalions of the Saxon Division drove 
back the enemy's outposts by a sudden rush, took 


100 prisoners, and after storming a barricade entered 
Bry. Here ensued an embittered fight in the streets 
and houses, in which the 2nd Battalion of the 107th 
Regiment lost nearly all its officers. Nevertheless it 
maintained its hold on the northern part of the village, 
in spite of the heavy fire of the forts. 

The Wlirtembergers also forced an entrance into 
Champigny, but soon met with fierce resistance from 
the enemy sheltered in the buildings. The previously 
occupied Bois de la Lande had to be abandoned, and 
General Ducrot now determined to resort to the offen- 
sive. The strong artillery line on his front came into 
action at about nine o'clock, and two Divisions deployed 
in rear of it. 

Meanwhile the Fusilier battalion of the Colberg 
Regiment marched once more from the Hunting-lodge 
on Bois de la Lande, and carried it with the first 
onslaught. The French, firing heavily from the rail- 
way embankments, struck down the Pomeranians with 
clubbed rifles and at the point of the bayonet. A 
fierce fight was carried on at the same time at the lime- 
pits, where at noon 160 French laid down their arms. 
When six Wiirtemberg and nine Prussian batteries 
had been by degrees brought into action against 
Champigny, General Hartmann l succeeded in getting as 
far as the road leading to Bry. As, however, the 
batteries were now being masked by their own infantry, 
and were suffering, too, under the heavy projectiles fired 
from the forts, they were withdrawn into the hollow of 
the Hunting-lodge. At two o'clock the 1st Wiirtem- 
berg and 7th Prussian Brigades established them- 
selves firmly in the line from the churchyard of 
Champigny to the Bois de la Lande. 

Meanwhile the French divisions of Bellemare and 

Susbielle had reached the battle-field from the right 

bank of the Marne. The two Saxon battalions in Bry, 

having already lost 36 officers and 638 men, were com- 

1 Commanding 3rd Infantry Division. 


pelled by the approach of the enemy in very superior 
force, to evacuate the village and retire on Noisy, but 
not without taking 300 prisoners with them. The rest 
of the Saxon forces held Villiers, where the still avail- 
able batteries also were in position. 

While, at two o'clock, the French were bringing up 
a strong artillery mass against this point, four batteries 
of the Ilnd Corps rushed out of the hollow near the 
Hunting-lodge at a gallop upon their flank, and opened 
fire at a range of 2000 paces. In less than ten minutes 
the French batteries fell back and the Prussian batteries 
returned to their sheltered position. Several hostile 
battalions which, at about three o'clock, attempted a 
renewed assault on Villiers, were repulsed with no 
difficulty, and at five o'clock the fighting ceased. The 
French merely kept up a fire of field and fortress 
artillery until dark. 

General Ducrot had received information in the 
course of the day, that the Army of the Loire was 
marching on Fontainebleau, and he was, therefore, very 
anxious to continue to maintain his position outside 

During the night of December 2nd 3rd, provisions 
were procured, and the teams and ammunition of the 
batteries were made up ; but the approach of support 
from without was in no wise confirmed. 

The troops were completely exhausted by the previous 
disastrous fighting, and the Commander-in-Chief was 
justified in apprehending a repulse on the Mame by 
the enemy's invigorated forces. He therefore ordered 
a retreat, the troops being informed that the attack 
should be renewed as soon as their preparedness for 
fighting should have been re-established. 

Soon after midnight the divisions were assembled 
behind the outposts, and the trains were sent back first. 
At noon the troops were able to follow over the bridges 
at Neuilly, Bry, and Joinville. Only one brigade 
remained in position to cover the passage. 


The retreat was very skilfully covered by a series of 
small attacks on the German outposts. The French 
batteries had opened fire at Le Plant and Bry by day- 
break, and the withdrawal of the enemy's army was 
completely hidden by the thick mist. 

General Fransecky assembled the Saxon and the 
Wiirtemberg Divisions in a fighting position at Villiers 
and Coeuilly, the 7th Brigade with the Corps- Artillery 
of the Ilnd Corps and two regiments of the Vlth at 
Chennevieres, intending to wait for the expected rein- 
forcement which the Vlth Corps had agreed to furnish 
for the 4th. The 23rd Division also received orders 
from the Crown Prince of Saxony to cross to the left 
bank of the Marne, whilst the Guard Corps had mean- 
while extended its outposts to Chelles. 

So remained matters on the 3rd, with the exception 
of petty frays, and at four o'clock in the afternoon the 
troops were able to return to quarters. When early on 
the 4th patrols rode forward towards Bry and Cham- 
pigny, they found these places vacated, and the 
peninsula of Joinville deserted by the enemy. 

The Ilnd French Army, which had been severely 
reduced and its internal cohesion much shaken, returned 
to Paris ; on its own report it had lost 12,000 men. 
The German troops engaged had lost 6200 men, but 
resumed their former positions in the investing line. 

This energetic attempt on the part of General Ducrot 
was the most serious effort that was made for the relief 
of Paris. It was directed towards what was at the 
moment the weakest point of the investment, but met 
with any success only at the outset. 1 

1 A legend was subsequently circulated that the voice of one 
general in a German council of war had, in opposition to all the 
others, prevented the removal of the chief head-quarters from Ver- 
sailles. Apart from the fact that during the whole course of the 
invasion no council of war was ever held, it never occurred to any 
member of the King's military suite to set so bad an example to the 
army. [Moltke.] 



The newly-formed levies in northern France were not 
remaining inactive. Rouen and Lille were their chief 
centres. In front of the latter place, the Somme with 
its fortified passages at Ham, Peronne, Amiens, and 
Abbeville afforded a line equally advantageous for 
attacks to the front or for secure retreat. Isolated 
advances had, indeed, on various occasions, been driven 
back by detachments of the Army of the Meuse, but 
these were too weak to rid themselves of the continued 
molestation by pursuit pushed home. 

We have already seen how, after the fall of Metz, the 
Ilnd Army marched to the Loire, and the 1st into the 
northern departments of France. 

A large portion of the 1st Army was at first detained 
on the Moselle by having had to undertake the trans- 
port of the numerous prisoners and the observation of 
the fortresses which interrupted the communications 
with Germany. The whole Vllth Corps was either in 
Metz or before Thionville and Montmedy. Of the 1st 
Corps, the 1st Division was detached to Rethel, 1 the 4th 
Brigade transported by railway through Soissons to 
the investment of La Fere, and the 3rd Cavalry 
Division sent on towards the forest of Argonnes. The 
remaining five brigades followed with the artillery on 
the 7th November. 2 

Marching on a wide front, the force reached the 
Oise between Compiegne and Chauny on the 20th. 
In front of the right wing the cavalry, supported by a 
battalion of Jtigers, came in contact with Gardes- 
Mobiles at Ham and Guiscard ; in face of the infantry 

1 According to statement on p. 177, to Mezieres. 

The " five brigades " mentioned in the text consisted of the 3rd 
of 1st Corps, and the four composing the VHIth Corps, of which, 
the 1st and Vllth, the 1st Army was made up. The 1st Cavalry 
Division, originally belonging to the 1st Army, was transferred to the 
Ilnd Army by the reorganization following the capitulation of Metz. 


columns the hostile bodies fell back on Amiens. It 
was learned that 15,000 men were there, and that 
reinforcements were continually joining. 

On the 25th the 3rd Brigade reached Le Quesnel. 
The 15th Division of the VHIth Corps advanced beyond 
Montdidier, and the 16th to Breteuil, whence it estab- 
lished connection with the Saxon detachments about 
Clermont. On the 26th the right wing closed up to Le 
Quesnel, the left to Moreuil and Essertaux. The cavalry 
scouted forward towards the Somme, the right bank of 
which it found occupied. The enemy's attitude in- 
dicated that he was confining himself to the defence of 
that position. General von Manteuffel thereupon deter- 
mined to attack, without waiting for the arrival of the 
1st Division, the transport of which from Rethel was 
extraordinarily delayed. His intention, in the first 
instance, was to utilize the 27th in drawing closer in 
his forces, which were extended along a front of some 
nineteen miles. But the battle was unexpectedly 
fought on that same day. 

(November 17th.) 

General Farce, with his 17,500 men distributed into 
three brigades, stood eastward of Amiens on the south 
bank of the Somme, about Villers Bretonneux and 
Longueau along the road to Peronne, holding also the 
villages and copses on his front. Besides these troops 
there were 8000 Gardes-Mobiles occupying an in- 
trenched position about two and a half miles in front 
of the city. 

In accordance with instructions from the Army 
Headquarter, General von Goeben (commanding the 
VHIth Corps) had given orders for the 27th that the 
15th Division should take up quarters at Fouencamps 
and Sains ; the 16th at Rumigny and Plachy and in the 


villages further back ; the Corps- Artillery at Gratte- 
panche. Consequently the VHIth Corps was to be 
assembled before Amiens between the Celle and the 
Noye, at the distance, then, of nearly two and a half 
miles from the 1st Corps, and divided from it by the 
latter brook and the Avre. General von Bentheim 
(commanding the 1st Division, 1st Corps 1 ) on the other 
hand, had sent his advanced guard, the 3rd Brigade, 
into quarters north of the Luce. 

At an early hour that brigade seized the passages of 
the brook at Ddmuin, Hangard, and Domart. At ten 
o'clock it moved forward in order to occupy the 
appointed quarters, and as the enemy were already in 
possession, a fight began which gradually increased in 

The wooded heights on the north bank of the Luce 
were taken without any particular resistance, and 
maintained in spite of several counter strokes by the 
French. The artillery pushed forward through the 
intervals of the infantry. On the left the 4th Regi- 
ment seized the village of Gentelles, on the right the 
44th Regiment rushed up to within 300 paces of the 
left flank of the French position, and by a vigorous 
onslaught carried by storm the earthworks at the rail- 
way cutting east of Villers Bretonneux. Soon after 
mid-day heavy hostile masses drew up at Bretonneux 
and in Cachy, directly opposite the 3rd Brigade, 
which was extended along a front of some four miles. 

On the left wing of the Germans the 16th Division 
had by eleven o'clock already reached its assigned 
quarters, and had driven the enemy out of Hebecourt, 
as well as out of the woods north of that village towards 
Dury. The 15th Division, in compliance with the 
enjoined assemblage of the VHIth Corps on the left bank 
of the Noye, moved westward from Moreuil through 

1 In effect commanding the whole 1st Corps, although nominally 
Manteuffel was still chief of it, as well as in command of the 1st 


Ailly to Dommartin, its advance guard which had been 
holding Hailles marching direct on Fouencamps. Thus 
it happened that before noon the roads from Roye and 
Montdidier between the two Corps were left completely 
uncovered by troops on the German side, while a French 
brigade was standing at the fork of these roads at 
Longueau, though, in fact, it remained absolutely in- 
active. This interval was at first screened only by the 
numerous retinue and staff escort of the Commander- 
in- Chief ; and then it was to some extent filled by the 
battalion constituting the guard of the headquarter. 
As, however, after ten o'clock the French on their side 
commenced an attack on the 3rd Brigade, General von 
ManteufFel ordered the 15th Division to join in the 
fight as far as possible toward the right wing. 

After a staunch defence the companies of the 4th 
Regiment were driven back out of the Bois de Hangard 
towards the declivity of the height in front of Demuin, 
and subsequently, having expended all their ammu- 
nition, the defenders of Gentelles were driven back to 

General von Strubberg (commanding 30th Infantry 
Brigade, VHIth Corps), on instructions from the scene of 
combat in front of the Luce, had sent four battalions in 
that direction, which crossed the Avre, but came under 
such a heavy fire from the Bois de Gentelles that their 
further advance was prevented, and they had to change 
front against the wood. Behind them, however, the 
other detachments of the 30th Brigade pressed forward 
to St. Nicolas on the right bank, and to Boves on the 
left, and in co-operation with the 29th Brigade drove 
the French from the neighbouring Ruinenberg. 

Meanwhile a part of the approaching 1st Division 
came up behind the 3rd Brigade. The artillery posi- 
tions were considerably strengthened, and the cannon 
fire was directed against the earthworks south of Bre- 
tonneux. As the nearest support the Crown Prince's 
Regiment went forward, and soon the French were 


again driven out of the Bois de Hangard. The East 
Prussians following them up, took cover in front of the 
earthworks ; several detachments of the 4th and 44th 
Regiments gradually collected there from the neigh- 
bouring woods, and the enemy was then driven back 
from this position. Thirteen batteries now silenced 
the French artillery, and, after they had fired for some 
time on Bretonneux, the place was, at four o'clock, 
seized by the Prussians pouring in from all sides with 
drums beating. The French in its interior made 
only a weak defence at isolated points ; for the most 
part they hurried over the Somme at Corbie under 
cover of the darkness, and with the loss of 180 un- 
wounded prisoners. 

When, somewhat later, the French General Lecointe 
advanced with the reserve brigade on Domart, he found 
that crossing point already in possession of the 1st 
Division, and turned back. Cachy only was held by 
the French till late in the evening. 

The troops of the 1st Corps were distributed for the 
night in the hamlets to the south of the Luce ; but 
the outposts were established on the northern bank of 
the Somme, and Bretonneux also remained occupied. 

On the left wing of the battle-field the 16th Division 
had advanced to Dury, and had driven the French out 
of the neighbouring churchyard, but had been forced to 
withdraw from an attack on the enemy's extensive and 
strongly defended line of intrenchment. It bivouacked 
behind Dury. 

It was night before General von Manteuffel received 
information which proved that the enemy had been 
completely defeated. Early in the morning of the 
28th the patrols of the 1st Corps found the region 
clear of the enemy as far as the Somme, and all the 
bridges across the river destroyed. At noon General 
von Goeben entered Amiens, the citadel of which 
capitulated two days later with its garrison of 400 men 
and 30 cannon. 


One peculiarity of the battle of the 27th November 
was the disproportionately great extent of the battle- 
field to the number of the troops engaged. General 
Farre, with 25,000 men in round numbers, covered a 
front of about fourteen miles from Pont de Metz south 
of Amiens to the east of Villers Bretonneux, and with 
the Somme close on his rear. The Germans attacked 
on approximately the same breadth of front, with the 
result that there was a break in the middle of their 
line. The danger caused by this gap was not taken 
advantage of during the morning through the inactivity 
of the enemy, and it was then nullified by the 
occupation of St. Nicolas. 

The superiority of numbers was on the side of the 
Germans, for, although of the approaching 1st Division 
only the Crown Prince's Regiment could take part in 
the fighting, they were 30,000 strong. The 3rd 
Brigade bore the brunt of the battle, losing 630 
men and 34 officers out of a total of 1300. The 
French also lost about 1300, besides 1000 reported 
missing. Part of the National Guard threw down 
their arms and fled to their homes. The main body of 
the French Corps retired on Arras. 

Immediately after the battle the 1st Army was 
reinforced by the 4th Brigade, which had been brought 
from La Fere. 

(November 27th.) 

This little fortress became of importance since it 
closed the line of railway passing through Rheims, 
both to Amiens and to Paris. Lying in open, wet, low 
ground overflowed by the Somme and its tributaries, 
it was difficult of approach ; otherwise, the fortifica- 


tions merely consisted of an isolated wall, with sundry 
earthworks close in front of it, and it was entirely 
seen into from heights on the east at a distance of not 
more than 1500 metres. 

The brigade (4th of 1st Corps) as a preliminary 
measure had invested La Fere on the 15th November, 
and when the siege-train arrived from Soissons with 
thirty-two heavy guns, seven batteries were built and 
armed during the night of the 25th on the heights 
already mentioned. On the following morning these 
opened fire, and on the 27th the place capitulated. 
Gardes-Mobiles to the number of 2300 were taken 
prisoners, and the most serviceable of the 113 guns 
found were brought away to arm the citadel of Amiens. 
The reinforcement of the 1st Army by the Vllth Corps 
meanwhile was not yet even in prospect, since the latter 
still had further work to do on the Moselle ; the 
greater part of the 1 4th Division only arrived before 
Thionville on November 13th. 

(November 24th.) 

This fortress, shut in on all sides by hills, was 
entirely without bomb-proof protection ; direct 
approach from the south was, on the other hand, 
rendered difficult by artificial inundations, and on 
the west and north by swamps. General von Kameke 
therefore decided to await the result of a heavy 
bombardment before resorting to a regular attack. 
Batteries were .erected on both banks of the Moselle, 
and on the morning of the 22nd eighty-five guns 
opened fire. At first the fortress answered briskly. 
In the following night the infantry detailed to the task 
of throwing up the first parallel, advanced to within 


600 paces of the west front, but, in consequence 
of pouring rain and the condition of the ground the 
work made but small progress. However, on the 24th 
at mid-day the commandant proposed negotiations 
for the surrender of the place. The garrison, 4000 
strong, with the exception of the National Guard 
belonging to the place, became prisoners and were sent 
to Germany; and 199 guns, besides a considerable 
amount of supplies, arms and ammunition, fell into the 
hands of the conqueror. 

The 14th Division was now required to lay siege to 
the northern frontier fortresses, which would occupy it 
for some time. The 13th Division, by orders from the 
supreme Head-quarter, was assigned to the operations 
in southern France. 


On the south-east section of the theatre of warBelfort 
had become the centre of continual petty enterprises 
on the part of French flying detachments in rear of 
the XlVth Corps, which under General von Werder 
stood about Vesoul. 

But when the troops previously before Strasburg 
had been relieved by a newly formed body from 
Germany, the troops before Neu-Breisach became 
available, and were set in march on Upper Alsace ; 
while the 1st Reserve Division reached Belfort on the 
3rd November, and by the 8th had effected the pre- 
liminary investment of that place. The greater part of 
the 4th Reserve Division marched to join the XlVth 
Corps at Vesoul, a detachment under General von 
Debschitz occupied Montbeliard, and the 67th 
Regiment held Mulhouse and Delle. 

Glancing back on the German successes during 


November and the general military position at the end 
of the month, we see the great sortie from Paris 
repulsed l ; in the north the menace to the investment 
of being hemmed in done away with by General von 
Manteuffel's victory at Amiens ; in the east Thionville, 
Breisach, Verdun, and La Fere taken, Montmedy and 
Belfort surrounded ; and in the south Prince Frederick 
Charles ready to attack the French army before Orleans. 

(December 3rd and 4th.) 

When soon after noon of 2nd December the tele- 
graphed order to take the offensive against Orleans 
reached the headquarter of the Ilnd Army, the Prince 
on the same day assembled the Xth Corps at Beaune la 
Rolande and Boynes, the Illrd at Pithiviers, and the 
I Xth at Ba/oches les Gallerandes. By evening the 
collected forces had their marching orders. 

The attack was to comprise two days of fighting. 
The Illrd Corps was first to advance on Loury by way 
of Chilleurs aux Bois ; the Xth was to follow to Chil- 
leurs ; and the IXth was to attack Artenay at half-past 
nine. The 1st Cavalry Division supported by infantry 
was to be on observation on the left flank towards the 
Yonne ; the 6th was to follow the right wing. The 
Grand Duke, to whom it had been left to arrange the 
details of his own march westward of the Paris main 
road, ordered the 22nd Division to support the attack 
on Artenay, the Bavarian Corps to advance on Lumeau, 
the 17th Division to remain for the present at Anneux. 

' The great sortie to the east of Paris was not repulsed until 
December 2nd. 


The 4th Cavalry Division was charged with the duty 
of scouting on the right flank. 

So early as nine o'clock in the morning on the 3rd of 
December the Illrd Corps met eight battalions and six 
batteries of the enemy at Santeau. The 12th Brigade 
and the 'artillery of the 6th Division intercalated in the 
columns of march in rear of the foremost battalions, 
thereupon deployed about La Brosse. After a few 
rounds a battery of the left wing had to be withdrawn 
from the fight which had now commenced ; on the right, 
on the other hand, the Corps- Artillery gradually came up, 
and by noon seventy-eight Prussian guns were in action. 

The French, yielding to strength so overwhelming, 
retired on Chilleurs ; but, when the German batteries 
had advanced within 2000 paces of that place, and the 
right flank of the former was threatened by an assault 
of the Jager battalions, they began a retreat towards 
the forest, and at three o'clock part of the 5th Division 
followed them up through the glen leading to the 
southward, and the 6th by the high road. As these had 
been obstructed in many places, it was six o'clock in 
the evening before the clearing by Loury was reached. 

On the right, heavy musketry-firing was heard in the 
region of Neuville, and tidings also arrived that on the 
left the French had occupied Nancray. 

In consequence of this, a reinforcement from the 
reserve remaining in Chilleurs was brought up ; one 
regiment was thrown out fronting towards the west, a 
second towards the east, and under, cover of the out- 
posts extended toward the south the remainder of the 
troops went into bivouac and quarters at Loury. 

The IXth Corps had first assembled at Chateau 
Gaillard on the main road to Paris, and then advanced 
along the chausse'e through Dambron against Villereau. 
At Assas it met the enemy, who was soon driven back 
by its artillery, and disappeared towards Artenay. 
At about ten o'clock an obstinate contest was engaged 
in against the batteries of the 2nd French Division in 



position here, in which part of the Corps- Artillery pre- 
sently bore part, seconded later by the batteries of the 
22nd Division, which had come up to Poupry. General 
Martineau retreated slowly by successive detachments, 
his artillery leading, before the overwhelming fire of 
ninety guns, on La Croix Briquet and Ferme d Arblay. 

At twelve o'clock the Germans occupied Artenay, 
and after half an hour's rest they renewed the offensive. 
There occurred a long and obstinate fire-fight both of 
infantry and artillery, while the 22nd Division pushed 
forward on the enemy's left flank. At two o'clock his 
guns were silenced, the left-wing column of the IXth 
Corps seized the farm of Arblay, and the centre by 
hard fighting drove the enemy back along the high 
road through La Croix Briquet to Andeglou, where 
under cover of the marine artillery resistance was kept 
up till dark. 

General Puttkamer l had brought up five batteries to 
within 800 paces of Chevilly, and the 22nd Division 
was advancing on the burning village, when the chief 
Command gave the order to halt, the Grand Duke hesi- 
tating to engage in a night attack on the intrenched 
village. But when, soon after, a Hussar patrol brought 
the information that it was already evacuated, General 
von Wittich ordered its occupation. The troops 
bivouacked in a heavy snowstorm, in and to the rear 
of La Croix Briquet. 

About the time of the first advance the IXth Corps 
had sent a detachment of four Hessian battalions left- 
ward against St. Lye*. They met with opposition at 
La Tour, drove the enemy back on St. Germain, but 
could not dislodge him from that place. 

When the Xth Corps, marching round by Pithiviers 
unmolested, about three o'clock reached the vicinity of 
Chilleurs in rear of the Illrd Corps, part of the 20th 
Division went on in the direction of the fighting about 
Neuville, the noise of which in the evening was also 
1 Commanding Artillery of IXth Corps. 


heard at Loury. Darkness had already come on and 
precluded the use of artillery, but the infantry hroke 
into the village at several points. But it found the 
streets barricaded, and met with obstinate resistance 
so that the prosecution of the attack had to be post- 
poned till the following day. 

The XVth French Corps had sustained single-handed 
the onslaught of three Prussian Corps. Strong masses 
of the Army of Orleans, to right and to left of that 
Corps, made but feeble efforts in the course of the 
day to support it. General Chanzy alone, when at 
about two o'clock he heard heavy firing from Artenay, 
ordered forward the 2nd Division of the XVlth Corps, 
though he had already that morning begun his retreat 
on St. Peravy and Boulay. But this reinforcement 
encountered the Prussian 17th Division, which, coming 
up from Anneux, was on the point of joining in the 
fight at Andeglou, and with it the Bavarian Corps 
advancing from Lumeau. Their strong united artillery 
in position at Chameul and Sougy, soon forced the 
enemy to retire. Douzy and then Huetre were taken, 
and the chateau of Chevilly was occupied by the 17th 
Division. Here too darkness put an end to the fighting. 
The troops of the right wing quartered at Provencheres, 
Chameul and rearward. 

Thus the German army had made its way without 
very heavy fighting to within nine miles of Orleans. 
The French, indeed, had maintained their ground till 
evening in the neighbourhood of Neuville, but the 
forces holding on there were ordered to retire in the 
night. They were to gain the road from Pithiviers by 
Rebrechien, and make a circuit by Orleans to Chevilly. 
But they thus came under the fire of the Illrd German 
Corps quartered in Loury, and fled in disorder back 
into the forest, whence they attempted to reach their 
destination by detachments. 

It was only to be expected that the French would 
stoutly defend their intrenchments at Gidy and Cer- 


cottes on the following day, if only to keep open their 
way of retreat through Orleans. Prince Frederick 
Charles therefore ordered the Grand Duke's Detach- 
ment and the IXth Corps to make an encompassing 
attack on both points on the 4th. The Illrd Corps 
was to advance from Loury on Orleans, and the Xth, 
again forming the reserve, was to follow to Chevilly. 

General d'Aurelle had retired to Saran on the even- 
ing of the 3rd. Here he saw the 2nd Division of the 
XVth Corps fleeing by in utter rout, and heard also that 
the 1st had failed to make a stand at Chilleurs. The 
Corps of his right wing were altogether shattered as 
regarded their internal cohesion by the battle of Beaune, 
and those of his left no less by the fight at Loigny. 
The French General could not but dread being driven 
on the Loire with undisciplined masses, and the conse- 
quent block of the only passage of the river at Orleans. 
He decided therefore on an eccentric retreat. Only the 
XVth Corps was to retire by Orleans ; General Crouzat 
was to cross the Loire at Gien, General Chanzy at 
Beaugency. The reassemblage remained to be at- 
tempted behind the Sauldre. The necessary dispositions 
were made during the night, and communicated to the 
Government. From the Board of Green Cloth at 
Tours, counter orders of course came next morning to 
maintain the Orleans position, which practically was 
already wrecked ; but the General adhered firmly to his 
own determination. 

On December 4th the Illrd Army Corps marched 
out of Loury in two columns by the high road and the 
tracks through Vennecy. Both bodies reached Boigny 
by noon, having met only stragglers. A detachment 
was sent to the right to Neuvifle, which made prize 
of seven derelict guns and many rifles. To the left, 
another detachment occupied Che'zy on the Loire. 
After a short rest the main columns advanced, and by 
two o'clock the 6th Division reached Vaumainbert, 
which was occupied by detachments of the French 


XVth Corps. Although the country was not open 
enough to allow of the employment of artillery, the 
place was taken by the Brandenburgers in spite of the 
stout resistance of the French Marine Infantry, and the 
fire of the batteries on the heights to the north of St. 
Loup could now be directed on the suburb of Orleans. 

The 5th Division had meanwhile come up behind the 
6th and took part in the fight. 

The XXth French Corps, which was still at Chambon, 
in the eastern part of the forest opposite Beaune la 
Rolande, had received orders at four in the morning 
from Tours direct, to march on Orleans. Contrary 
orders had previously arrived from General d'Aurelle, 
but nothing subsequently came to hand. General 
Crouzat had, as a precaution, sent his train across the 
Loire by way of Jargeau, and then marched in the pre- 
scribed direction. When, at half-past two he met at 
Pont aux Moines the German detachment despatched to 
Chezy, he determined to cut his way through by force 
of arms ; but as General von Stiilpnagel reinforced his 
two battalions with the rest of his Division, the French 
general gave up that attempt and retreated across the 
river, making the passage at Jargeau. 

On the German side the attack on St. Loup 1 was 
unsuccessful ; and since from the locality of the fighting 
on the part of the other Corps no tidings reached him, 
and darkness was approaching, General von Alvens- 
leben postponed any further attack on the city till the 
following day. 

North of Orleans the IXth Army Corps advanced 
from La Croix Briquet on the intrenched position of 
Cercottes. At about one o'clock the foremost detach- 
ments of infantry entered the place. The 2nd Division 
of the French XVth Corps was driven back by the fire 
of the artillery into the vineyards in front of the city. 
Here the infantry alone could continue the struggle. 

1 The northern suburb of Orleans. 


The French defended every tenable spot, and especially 
in the railway station close to Orleans held their own 
with great persistency. It and the adjacent deep road- 
cutting were fortified with barricades and rifle-pits, 
and armed with naval guns. It was not till nightfall, 
about half-past five, that these posts were abandoned, 
but the contest was continued further back. To avoid 
street-fighting in the dark, General von Manstein 
broke off the fight for the day at about seven o'clock. 

The advanced guard of the 17th Division of the Grand 
Duke's Detachment had found Gidy intrenched and 
strongly occupied. But at the approach of the IXth 
Corps the French about eleven o'clock thought proper 
to abandon the position, leaving behind eight guns. 
The German Division, to avoid the wood, now moved 
in a westerly direction on Boulay, whither the 22nd 
and the 2nd Cavalry Division followed as a reserve. 

Here the Bavarian Corps and the 4th Cavalry 
Division were already engaged in a fight, having pre- 
viously driven the French out of Bricy and Janvry. 
When the artillery had for some time been in action, 
General von der Tann passed to the assault at about 
twelve o'clock. But the French did not wait for this ; 
they beat a hasty retreat, leaving some of their guns in 
the defences. 

The 2nd Cavalry Division took up the pursuit. The 
4th Hussars of the 5th Brigade, trotting forward through 
Montaigu, charged a dismounted French battery and 
seized all its guns ; another near Ormes was left to be 
carried off by the horse battery. From thence a strong 
body of French horse suddenly appeared on the left 
flank of the 4th Brigade as it was crossing the Cha- 
teaudun road. But the Bliicher Hussars, promptly 
wheeling into line, drove the enemy back through the 
village on Ingre*. 

The 4th Cavalry Division was placed on observation 
on the right flank of the Detachment ; and the Hussars 
of the 2nd Life Regiment here rode down 250 men 


forming the escort of a waggon column escaping by the 
road to Chateaudun, and captured the convoy. 

While the Germans were thus converging on Orleans 
from the east and north, in the west the XVIIth French 
Corps and the 1st Division of the XVIth were still in the 
field about Patay and St. Pe"ravy. General Chanzy had 
assembled the latter about Coinces, and, to protect him- 
self against its threatened attack on his flank, General 
von der Tann formed front at Bricy with his 3rd Infantry 
Brigade, the Cuirassiers, and the artillery reserve. 
The 4th Cavalry Division marched on Goinces, where 
General von Bernhardi, clearing a wide ditch with four 
squadrons of Uhlans, drove a body of French horse 
back on St. Peravy without its having been able to do 
more than fire one carbine-volley. Other squadrons 
of the 9th Brigade rode down the French tirailleurs, 
and pursued the cavalry till it reached the protection 
of strong bodies of infantry. The 8th Brigade was in 
observation toward Patay, and after that place had 
come under the fire of a battery and been abandoned, 
General Chanzy gave up all further attack and retired 
behind the forest of Montpipeau. 

The 2nd Cavalry Division now made for the Loire 
immediately below Orleans. Its artillery destroyed a 
bridge at Chapelle over which a baggage-train was 
passing, and compelled the French troops, which were 
marching towards Cle"ry along the further bank, to flee 
back to Orleans. Two military railway-trains from 
thence were not to be stopped by the firing, but a train 
coming from Tours, in which, as it happened, was 
Gambetta himself, returned thither with all speed. 

The Bavarian Corps meanwhile was advancing by the 
high road, and the 22nd Division, in touch with the IXth 
Corps, on the old Chateaudun road ; the 17th Division 
between the two on La Borde. This last Division 
at about 3.30 had to carry on its way the strongly 
defended village of Heurdy ; and when the Bavarians 
from Ormes turned to the right on Ingre", it proceeded 


by the high road towards St. Jean de la Ruelle. 
Having overcome all opposition there too, the head of 
the Division reached the gates of Orleans at about six 

General von Tresckow entered into negotiations with 
the military authorities there for the orderly occupation 
of the town. An agreement was arrived at by ten 
o'clock, and shortly after midnight the Grand Duke 
marched in with the 17th Division, promptly followed 
by the 2nd Bavarian Brigade. The bridge over the 
Loire, which the French had not found time to blow 
up, was secured with all speed. The rest of the troops 
found quarters for the night, to the west and north of 
the city. 

The peremptory orders from the Government to hold 
Orleans had shaken General d'Aurelle's original deter- 
mination. When the mass of the XVth Corps arrived 
there in the forenoon, he was anxious to make a final 
stand. But the necessary orders could not be trans- 
mitted to the Corps of the right wing, nor carried out 
by those of the left ; and by five o'clock the General in 
command was convinced of the futility of any further 
resistance. The artillery of the XVth Corps was in the 
first instance forwarded to La Ferte St. Aubin ; the 
infantry followed. The XXth Corps, as we have seen, 
was at Jargeau ; the XVIIIth recrossed the Loire at 
Sully ; the XVIth and XVIIth moved off westward 
in the direction of Beaugency, but remained on the 
right bank of the river. 

The two days' battle had cost the Germans 1700 
men ; the French lost 20,000, of whom 1800 were taken 
prisoners. Their large army lately massed before 
Orleans, was now split up into three separate bodies. 



The troops were too much exhausted for immediate 
pursuit in any of these three directions. 

It was ordered that only the 6th Cavalry Division, 
reinforced by an infantry detachment of the 18th Divi- 
sion, should follow up the enemy making to the south- 
ward, ascertain his whereabouts, and destroy the concen- 
tration of the railways from Bourges, Orleans and Tours 
at the Vierzon junction. This Cavalry was in quarters 
to the north of the city ; the French XVth Corps had a 
considerable start of it, and the main body of the latter 
had reached Salbris, when, on December 6th, two days 
after the battle, General von Schmidt (commanding 
14th Brigade, 6th Cavalry Division) arrived by a forced 
march at La Ferte St. Aubin. Here he found a de- 
tachment of the 18th Division, which had already driven 
the French rear-guard back on La Motte Beuvron, but 
was now recalled to the Loiret. Only two companies 
of the 36th Regiment and one of pioneers joined the 
further advance, and followed the cavalry partly in 
waggons and partly on gun-limbers. 

On the 7th, under direct orders from Tours, the 
French Corps left the high road to the south, and made 
a flank march of twenty miles in an easterly direction 
to Aubigny Ville. The cavalry, supported to the best 
of their power by its artillery and the small infantry 
detachment, had a sharp fight with the French rear- 
guard at Nouan le Fuzelier, and again in the evening 
at Salbris, in which the French finally had the best of 
it. The neighbourhood being very thinly populated, 
the Division had to return in the night to Nouan, to 
find shelter from the bitter winter weather. 

Long before daybreak on the 8th, the French rear- 
guard evacuated Salbris to avoid a further encounter 
with the enemy, whose strength was greatly over- 
estimated. After some slight skirmishes the Cavalry 
Division reached Vierzon that evening. The telegraph 


wires were cut and the railway line torn up in 
several places, 70 goods vans were made prize of, 
the direction of the enemy's retreat was ascertained, 
and any offensive movement on the part of the 
French from that side for the time was reckoned very 

The Division had fulfilled its task; it was now 
ordered to leave one brigade in observation, and to 
advance in the direction of Blois with the rest. General 
(Count) von der Groeben (commanding 14th Cavalry 
Brigade) maintained his positions at Vierzon and Salbris 
till the 14th. 

The winter marches of the 6th Cavalry Division were 
exceptionally arduous. It was almost impossible to 
travel excepting by the high roads, and they were so 
slippery with ice that it was often necessary to dismount 
and lead the horses. The inhabitants of the Sologne 
were extremely hostile, and troopers patrolling in 
advance were fired upon in every village. The French 
forces, on the other hand, made but a feeble resistance. 
Numerous prisoners and large quantities of abandoned 
war materiel bore witness to a hasty retreat, in many 
cases indicated panic-flight. Nevertheless, in spite of 
much desultory marching and counter-marching, the 
Corps on December 13th finally succeeded in joining the 
right wing of the Army of Orleans at Bourges. The 
plight in which it arrived there may be gathered from 
the telegraphic Correspondance Urgente of the Tours 
Government with General Bourbaki, who, when General 
d'Aurelle was dismissed from the command in chief, had 
assumed command of the three Corps. 

The delegate Freycinet, who was no doubt kept well 
informed by the country people, assured General 
Bourbaki that he had only a weak force of cavalry in 
his front, and called upon him repeatedly, and in the 
most urgent terms, to advance against Blois. The 
General retorted that if he were to undertake that 
operation, not a gun, not a man of his three Corps would 


ever be seen again. His intention was to retreat 
without delay from Bourges on St. Amand, and if 
necessary yet further ; all he dreaded was lest he should 
be attacked before he could accomplish this, and so 
be involved in overwhelming disaster. 

The Minister of War himself went to Bourges, but 
he too renounced all idea of a serious offensive move- 
ment when he saw the disorder of the troops ; " I have 
never seen anything so wretched." It was with difficulty 
that he carried his point that the Corps should not 
retreat, but should await events under cover of one of 
them pushed forward towards Vierzon. 

On the day when General von Schmidt entered 
Vierzon, the XVth Corps was in the vicinity of Hen- 
richemont, at about an equal distance with himself 
from Bourges. The XVIIIth and XXth Corps were 
at Aubigny Ville and Cernay, from two to three 
marches away. It can scarcely be doubted that if the 
18th Division had followed the advance of the 6th 
Cavalry Division, possession would have been obtained 
of Bourges and of the vast military establishments 

To the east of Orleans the Illrd German Corps 
marched up the river through Chateauneuf. It met 
only stragglers, till on the 7th two Divisions of the 
XVIIIth French Corps attempted to cross to the right 
bank of the Loire at Gien. There came about an 
advanced-guard fight at Nevoy, with the result that 
these Divisions retreated across the bridge in the night, 
and continued their march on Bourges. 

(December 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th.) 

The Grand Duke's Detachment stood westward, close 
to the retreating left wing of the enemy. In contrast 


to the disorder of the right "wing, General Chanzy, pro- 
bably the most capable of all the leaders whom the 
Germans had to encounter in the battle-field, had very 
rapidly in so great measure restored the discipline and 
spirit of his defeated troops, that they were able not 
only to make a stand, but even to take the offensive. 
They had, it is true, been considerably reinforced by 
the newly formed XXIst Corps and by Camo's Division. 
The latter formed the advanced guard at Meung ; be- 
hind it were the XVIth Corps at Beaugency, the 
XVIIth at Cravant, and the XXIst at St. Laurent on 
the edge of the forest of Marchenoir. 

On the day after the fight the troops of the Grand 
Duke were given a rest-day; only the cavalry pur- 
sued the French. The 4th Cavalry Division reached 
Ouzouer ; the 2nd came upon considerable masses of 
infantry behind Meung. 

On the 7th, the Grand Duke's forces advanced on a 
very wide front. The 17th Division, on the left wing, 
inarched on Meung, where its artillery opened a combat 
Avith that of the enemy. The French held possession of 
the narrow lanes of the village, which further westward 
was pierced by the main road to Beaugency. Towards 
four o'clock a Mecklenburg battalion carried Langlo- 
chere by storm, but found itself threatened on both 
sides by the approach of hostile columns. On the left 
Foinard was presently occupied, and a gun captured 
there, while on the right the 1st Bavarian Brigade 
advanced on La Bourie. Here, almost at the same 
moment, the 2nd Cavalry Division came up by by-roads 
from Renardiere, having driven the enemy out of Le 
Bardon by the fire of its guns. The Bavarians had now 
to march out to meet a hostile mass advancing from 
Grand Chatre. Supported by the horse batteries, they 
maintained till nightfall a stubborn fight, which ended 
in the retreat of the French on Beaumont. 

During this conflict on the left wing of the Detach- 
ment, the 1st Bavarian Division, considerably on the 


right, were marching on Baccon, the 22nd on Ouzouer ; 
and finding that the French were offering a determined 
resistance, the Grand Duke decided on closing in his 
forces to the left. 

December Wi. To this end the 22nd Division moved 
southward from Ouzouer through Villermain. After 
repulsing the swarms of tirailleurs which attacked its 
left flank under cover of a thick fog, General von 
Wittich directed his march on Cravant, to effect a 
junction with the right wing of the 1st Bavarian Divi- 
sion already engaged in a hot struggle. They had re- 
pulsed an attack of the enemy pushed forward from 
Villechaumont, and the 2nd (Bavarian) Division ad- 
vanced by the road from Cravant to Beaugency ; but 
when three French Divisions came on afresh, it retreated 
on Beaumont. Here it found support from the 1st 
(Bavarian Division) and 17 batteries were gradually 
brought up into the fighting line. Their fire and an 
impetuous attack from three Bavarian brigades at last 
forced the enemy to fall back, and the position on the 
high road was recovered. 

The French now, on their side, brought up a strong 
force of artillery, and prepared to advance on Cravant 
with their XVIIth Corps. But the 22nd German Divi- 
sion having taken Beauvert and Layes by the way, had 
already reached Cravant at about one o'clock, and was 
in position there with the 4th Cavalry Division on 
its right and the 2nd on its left. So when, at about 
three o'clock, dense French columns advanced on 
Cravant, they were repulsed by a powerful counter- 
stroke delivered by the 44th Brigade, in conjunc- 
tion with the Bavarians, and were soon driven out 
of Layes, which they had entered while advancing. 
The five batteries nearest to Cravant had suffered 
so severely meanwhile that they had to be withdrawn. 
When finally at about four o'clock the Bavarian 
battalions advanced to storm the height in their front, 
they were met by fresh troops of the enemy, and after 


losing a great part of their officers were compelled 
to retreat on the artillery position at Beaumont. 
Later, however, the French abandoned Villechau- 

On the left wing of the Detachment the 17th Divi- 
sion pursued the retreating French through Valle'es and 
Villeneuve, and then at about noon made an attack 
on Messas. The defence was obstinate, and it was 
not till dusk that it succeeded in gaining full possession 
of the place. The artillery directed its fire on dense 
masses showing about Vernon, the infantry stormed the 
height of Beaugency, and finally forced its way into 
the town itself, where a French battery fell into its 
hand. Camo's Division then retired on Tavers, and at 
midnight General von Tresckow fell upon Vernon, 
whence the French, taken entirely by surprise, fled to 

The Headquarter of the Ilnd Army had determined 
to set in march on Bourges the Illrd, Xth, and IXth 
Corps, from Gien, from Orleans, and also from Blois. 
But the Detachment in its advance on Blois by 
the right bank of the Loire had met with unexpected 
resistance lasting for two days. In the supreme 
Headquarter at Versailles it was regarded as indis- 
pensable that the Grand Duke should immediately be 
reinforced by at least one Division. Telegraphic orders 
to that effect arrived at ten o'clock on December 9th. 
The IXth Corps, which was already on the march along 
the left bank and had found no enemy in its front, 
could not give the requisite support, since all the 
bridges over the river had been blown up. The Illrd 
Corps was therefore ordered to leave only a detach- 
ment in observation at Gien, and to turn back to 
Orleans. The Xth Corps was to call in its detach- 
ments standing eastward of the city and march forward 
to Meung. Meanwhile on the 9th the Detachment 
remained still quite unsupported while actually con- 
fronting with four Infantry Divisions, eleven French 


Divisions. And early on that morning General Chanzy 
took the offensive. 

December 9th. The two Prussian Divisions at Beau- 
vert and Messas stood firmly awaiting the hostile on- 
slaught. The two Bavarian Divisions, because of their 
severe losses, were held in reserve at Cravant, but soon 
had to come up into the fighting line, when at seven 
o'clock strong columns of the enemy advanced on Le 

Dense swarms of tirailleurs were repulsed both there 
and before Vernon, and were later shattered by the fire 
of the devoted German artillery, which silenced the 
French guns and then directed its fire on Villor- 
ceau. In spite of a stout defence, this village was 
carried and occupied about half-past ten by the Bava- 
rian infantry. The French advance on Villechaumont 
in greatly superior force was also repulsed, with the 
assistance of three battalions and two batteries of the 
22nd Division. The Thiiringers x then stormed Cernay, 
where 200 French laid down their arms, and one of 
their batteries lost its teams and limbers. 

On the right wing of the Detachment, in conse- 
quence of a misunderstanding, the Germans evacuated 
Layes and Beauvert, and the French occupied these 
villages. However, with the assistance of the 2nd 
Bavarian Brigade, the 44th (Brigade) drove them out 
again from both places. Further to the north, the 
4th Cavalry Division was in observation of a French 
detachment approaching Villermain. 

The French made renewed efforts, advancing again 
at mid-day on Cravant in strong columns ; but this 
movement General Tresckow took in flank from Messas. 

1 In the 22nd Division of the Xlth Corps a Corps of a curiously 
composite character, there were three Thuringian regiments. The 
43rd Brigade was wholly Thuringian, consisting as it did of the 
32nd and 95th regiments (2nd and 6th Thiiringers), and in the 
44th Brigade was the 94th (5th Thiiringers). It was the 2nd 
battalion of this last regiment which is referred to in the text. 


He left only a weak detachment in Beaugency, and 
secured himself towards Tavers in the villages on his 
left. The main body of the 17th Division advanced 
on Bonvalet, reinforced the hardly-pressed Bavarians 
in Villorceau, and occupied itself Villemarceau in front 
of that place. Here the Division had to maintain a 
severe struggle, at about three o'clock, with close 
columns of the French XVIth and XVIIth Corps. 
The infantry rushing on the enemy with cheers suc- 
ceeded, however, in repulsing him and holding its 
ground in spite of a hot fire. At the same time three 
Bavarian battalions, accompanied by cavalry and ar- 
tillery, marched up from Cravant and drove the French 
out of Villejouan. Yet further to the right a battalion 
of the 32nd Regiment took possession of Ourcelle. A 
line from thence to Tavers defined the section of terrain 
laboriously wrung from the enemy. 

The fight ended with the retreat of the enemy on 
Josnes and Dugny. 

On this day the Illrd Corps was still on the march to 
Orleans. The IXth from its position on the left bank, 
could only take part in the fighting by the fire of its 
artillery on Meung and Beaugency. It was not till 
near Blois that it met French detachments. Fifty 
men of one of the Hessian battalions carried the de- 
fended chateau of Chambord lying rightward of the 
line of march, and there took 200 prisoners and made 
prize of twelve ammunition waggons with their 

Of the Xth Corps only the head of its infantry reached 
Meung, but it sent forward a regiment of Hussars 
with eight batteries, which arrived at Grand Chatre 
by about three o'clock in the afternoon. 

By order of the Headquarter of the Ilnd Army the 
Bavarian Corps was now to retire to Orleans, to re- 
cruit after its heavy losses. But even after the arrival 
of the Xth Corps the Grand Duke had still in his 
front an enemy double his strength, and instead of 


engaging in a pursuit he had rather to study how to 
maintain himself on the defensive. 

December Wth. At dawn General Chanzy renewed 
his attack, which even the Bavarians were presently 
required to join in repulsing. 

At seven o'clock the French XVIIth Corps rushed 
in dense masses on Origny, took there 150 prisoners, 
and forced its way into Villejouan. This advance was 
met directly in front by the 43rd Brigade at Cernay, 
and by the 4th Bavarian Brigade with six batteries 
at Villechaumont ; while on the right flank General von 
Tresckow pushed forward on Villorceau and Villemar- 
ceau. In this latter village two of his battalions, sup- 
ported by four batteries, resisted every onslaught of the 
French from Origny and Toupenay. At noon the main 
body of the 17th Division advanced to the recapture of 
Villejouan. Here the French made an obstinate stand. 
An embittered and bloody fight in the streets and 
houses was prolonged till four o'clock, and then fresh 
troops of the enemy came up to recover the post 
the Germans still held in one detached farmstead. 
The artillery mass of the Prussian Division had, how- 
ever, deployed to the south of Villemarceau ; it was 
joined by two horse batteries of the Xth Corps, and the 
batteries of the 22nd Division also came into action from 
Cernay. The concentric fire of this body of artillery 
wrecked the subsequent attacks of the XVIIth French 

Beaugency was now occupied by part of the Xth 
Corps. During the previous days the left flank of the 
German fighting position had a secure point d'appui 
on the Loire, but on the right such a support had been 
wholly lacking. The French had nevertheless hitherto 
made no attempt to take advantage of their superiority 
by a wider extension of their front. For the first 
time on this day did they come in on the unprotected 
left flank of their enemy. The greater part of the 
XXIst Corps deployed opposite to it, between Poisly 



and Mezieres, and at half-past ten strong columns ad- 
vanced on Villermain. The Bavarians were compelled 
to take up with their 2nd Brigade the "hook " forma- 
tion from Jouy to Coudray. Seven batteries were 
brought up into that line, and on its right flank the 4th 
Cavalry Division stood in readiness to act. By two 
o'clock two more horse batteries, and from Cravant 
four batteries of the Xth Corps arrived, which massed 
there with three brigades as a reserve. The fire of over 
a hundred German guns compelled the French to hurry 
their artillery out of action at three o'clock, and weak 
independent attacks by their infantry were repulsed 
without difficulty by the Germans persevering staunchly 
on the defence. 

The French losses in this four days' battle are 
unknown. The Detachment lost 3400 men, of 
whom the larger half belonged to the two Bavarian 

The Grand Duke had succeeded in holding his own 
against three Corps of the enemy till the arrival of the 
first reinforcement, and this he owed to the bravery of 
all his troops, and not least to the exertions of the artil- 
lery. This arm alone lost 255 men and 356 horses. 
Its material was tasked to the utmost, so that finally 
almost all the steel guns of the light batteries of the 
22nd Division, and most of the Bavarian, were rendered 
useless by the burning out of their vent-pieces. 

The Illrd Corps had on this day just arrived at St. 
Denis, and the IXth at Vienne opposite Blois ; but 
here, too, the bridge over the Loire was found to be 
blown up. 

On the French side, General Chanzy had learnt from 
the telegraphic correspondence of the Government at 
Tours with General Bourbaki, that nothing had com 3 
of that commander's attempt to divert part of the Ger- 
man Ilnd Army upon himself. The long delay gave 
General Chanzy t^e daily apprehension of an attack 
by it with its full strength ; and he therefore decided 


on a retreat, which resulted in the removal of the 
Assembly from Tours to Bordeaux. 

In the Grand Duke's Head-quarter the renewed 
offensive had been decided on for December llth. The 
villages in his front remained strongly occupied, and 
it was only at noon of that day that the enemy's 
retreat became known. He was at once pursued on 
the left by the Xth Corps, and on the right, south of 
the forest of Marchenoir, by the Detachment. On the 
north, the 4th Cavalry Division took up the scouting. 

A thaw had followed the hard frost, making the 
march equally difficult for friend and foe. The Ger- 
mans found the roads littered with abandoned waggons 
and cast-away arms ; the bodies of men and horses lay 
unburied in the fields, and in the villages were hun- 
dreds of wounded uncared for. Several thousands of 
stragglers were captured. 

The directions l of the Chief of the General Staff from 
Versailles suggested an immediate pursuit, which should 
render the enemy incapable of further action for some 
time to come ; but not to be maintained beyond Tours. 
The Ilnd Army was then to assemble at Orleans and 
the Detachment at Chartres, and the troops were to 
obtain the rest they needed. From the former point 
constant and strict watch could be kept on General 
Bourbaki's army, and to this end a connection was to 
be made with General von Zastrow, who with the 
Vllth Corps was to reach Chatillon sur Seine on the 
13th. But the operations in this quarter were not to 
extend beyond Bourges and Nevers. 

1 The expression " Directiven" in the text cannot be succinctly 
translated. It was rarely, except when actually himself in the 
field, that the Chief of the General Staff issued actual " orders " to the 
higher commanders. His communications for the most part consisted 
of " Directiven " messages of general suggestions as to the appro- 
priate line of action to be pursued, leaving a wide discretion to tho 
commanders to whom they were addressed, and refraining almost en- 
tirely from details. A collection of Moltke's " Directiven " would be 
perhaps the finest tribute to his military genius. 

E 2 


The Ilnd Army was accordingly in the first instance 
marched toward the Loir, and on the 13th reached 
the line Oucques Conan Blois, which last town was 
found evacuated. 

On the 14th the 17th Division marched to Moree, and 
reached the Loir at Freteval. A fight occurred at both 
these points. Though the French had yielded thus far, 
they seemed resolved to make a firm stand on the 
Loir, and had occupied Cloyes and Vendome in great 

In order to attack with success, Prince Frederick 
Charles first proceeded to concentrate all his forces. 
The Illrd Corps, which was hurrying after the army 
by forced marches, was in the first instance to come 
up into the interval between the Detachment and 
the Xth Corps, which was to march from Blois and 
Herbault on Vendome. 

But when, on the 15th, the Xth Corps was moving 
in the prescribed direction, its main body encountered 
so determined a resistance close in front of Vendome 
that it could not be over-come before dark. The troops 
therefore retired to quarters in the rear of Ste. Anne. 
A left-flank detachment had found St. Amand occupied 
by heavy masses, and halted at Gombergean. The Illrd 
Corps had advanced in the course of the day on Coulom- 
miers, in the vicinity of Vendome, had fought the French 
at Bel Essert, driven them back across the Loir and 
established connection with the Xth. The Grand Duke, 
in compliance with instructions, stood meanwhile on 
the defensive. The IXth Corps, after the restoration 
of the bridge of Blois, was at last able to follow the 
army, leaving a brigade in occupation of Blois. 

A greatly superior force was now assembled opposite 
the enemy's position, and a general attack was decided 
on ; but to give the wearied troops some rest it was 
postponed till the 17th, and meanwhile, on the 16th, 
General Chanzy withdrew. 

It had certainly been his intention to make a longer 


stand in the Loir angle ; but his Generals convinced him 
that the condition 'of the troops did not permit the pro- 
longation of active hostilities. He accordingly gave 
the order for the retreat of the army at daybreak by 
way of Montoire, St. Calais, and Vibraye to te Mans. 

Thus in the early morning (of the 17th) the Xth 
Corps found the French position in front of Vendome 
abandoned, and it entered the city without opposition. 
On the French left wing only, where the marching 
orders had not yet arrived, General Jaures made an 
attack on Freteval, but in the evening he followed the 
other Corps. 


On the 17th of December general directions were 
issued from Versailles to the Armies both to the north 
and south of Paris. 

Now that General von Manteuffel was across the 
Somme, and Prince Frederick Charles had advanced to 
the Loir, the Germans held possession of almost a third 
of France. The enemy was everywhere driven back ; 
and that the German forces should not be split up, it 
was thought advisable that they should be concentrated 
into three principal groups. The 1st Army was there- 
fore to assemble at Beauvais, the Detachment at 
Chartres, the Ilnd Army near Orleans, where the troops 
were to have the needful rest, and their full efficiency 
was to be re-established by the arrival of reservists and 
equipment. If the French should engage in any new 
enterprises, they were to be allowed to approach within 
striking distance, and then were to be driven back by a 
vigorous offensive. 

For the Ilnd Army there was but little prospect at 
present of overtaking the enemy beyond the LOJT ; and 


the reports from the Upper Loire now necessitated the 
bestowal of increased attention in that direction. News 
came from Gien that the posts left there had been 
driven back to Ouzouer sur Loire ; and it seemed 
not unlikely that General Bourbaki would take the 
opportunity of advancing by Montargis towards Paris, 
or at least towards Orleans, which for the moment was 
occupied only by part of the 1st Bavarian Corps. 

Prince Frederick Charles had got quit of his enemy 
probably for some considerable time, and he decided, in 
accordance with directions from Versailles, to assemble 
his forces at Orleans and maintain a waiting attitude. 
Only the Xth Corps was to remain behind in observa- 
tion on the Loir. To secure immediate support for the 
Bavarian Corps in any event, the IXth Corps, on its 
arrival from Blois at La Chapelle Vendomoise on the 
16th December, was ordered to march to Beaugency 
that same day, and to Orleans on the morrow. It 
covered nearly 52 miles in twenty-four hours, notwith- 
standing the badness of the weather. The Illrd Corps 
followed it. 

However, it was soon known that the enemy's 
detachment which had been seen at Gien did not form 
part of a large body of troops, and was intrenching 
itself at Briare for its own safety. So the Germans 
retired into comfortable rest-quarters, the 1st Bavarian 
Corps at Orleans, the Illrd there and along to Beau- 
gency, the IXth in the plain of the Loire up as far as 
Chateauneuf, with a strong post at Montargis. 

The Bavarian Corps was later transferred to Etampes, 
to recover at its leisure, to recruit its numbers, and refit 
as to its clothing and equipment. Nor was the Grand 
Duke of Mecklenburg's detachment in a condition to 
follow General Chanzy beyond the Loir. Six weeks of 
daily marching and fighting had tried the troops to the 
utmost. The dreadful weather and the state of the 
roads had reduced their clothing and foot-gear to a 
miserable state. A reconnoissance beyond the Loir 


showed that the French could be overtaken by only 
long and rapid marches. So the Grand Duke allowed 
his troops a long rest, from the 18th, in the villages on 
the left bank of the river. 

Of the Illrd Army, General von Rheinbaben, on the 
other hand, occupied with the three Brigades of the 
5th Cavalry Division Courtlain, Brou, and v Chartres, 
strengthened by five battalions of Guard Landwehr and 
four batteries. A letter from the Chief of the General 
Staff at Versailles had pointed out that this cavalry 
might probably be employed with great success in 
attacking the flank and rear of the enemy's retreating 
columns, and the Crown Prince had already given 
orders that it should push forward by way of Brou in 
full strength on the 15th. Contrary to these orders, 
the Division, obeyed a subsequent order which reached 
it on the 16th from the Grand Duke, under whose com- 
mand the Division had not been placed, to take up a 
position on the Yeres. 

On this day patrols had found the roads open to 
Montmirail and Mondoubleau, except for French 
infantry in front of Cloyes, which retired after a short 
fray. On the left, a connection was opened with the 
4th Cavalry Division. On the 17th, the 12th Cavalry 
Brigade entered Cloyes, already evacuated by the 
French ; on the 13th it advanced on Arrou, and only 
General von Barby (commanding the llth Cavalry 
Brigade) marched on Droue with a force of all arms, 
where he surprised the French at their cooking, and 
carried off much booty. 

On the 18th, the 12th Brigade did make prisoners of a 
few stragglers there, but the other two brigades only 
made a short march to the westward to La Bazoche Gouet 
and Arville, whence the enemy had quite disappeared. 
To the south of Arville a battalion of the Guard Land- 
wehr drove the French infantry out of St. Agil. 

With this the pursuit ended on the 19th. The Divi- 
sion retired on Nogent le Rotrou by the Grand Duke's 


desire, and subsequently undertook the observation of 
the left bank of the Seine at Vernon and Dreux. 

The Grand Duke's Detachment left its quarters on 
the Loir on the 21st. The 22nd Division occupied 
Nogent le Roi, and the 17th Chatres, till the 24th. 
The 4th Bavarian Brigade rejoined its own Corps at 

During the remainder of December only the Xth 
Corps had any fighting, it having been detailed to keep 
watch beyond the Loir from Blois and Vendome. 

Two brigades were set on march towards Tours on 
the 20th. On the further side of Monnaie they met the 
newly-formed troops of General Ferri-Pisani, 10,000 to 
15,000 strong, which were advancing from Angers and 
had passed through Tours. 

The soaked ground made the deployment of the 
artillery and cavalry exceedingly difficult. The 
cavalry, indeed, could only pursue the retreating 
French in deep columns along the high roads, thus 
suffering severely from the enemy's fire delivered at 
very short range. 

On the following day General von Woyna (command- 
ing 39th Infantry Brigade) advanced unopposed with 
six battalions on the bridge at Tours. A light battery 
was brought up on the bank of the river and dispersed 
the rabble firing from the opposite shore, but it would 
have cost too many lives to storm the city, which, since 
the removal of the seat of Government, had ceased to 
be of any great importance. The detachment was 
withdrawn to Monnaie, and the Xth Corps went into 
quarters, the 19th Division at Blois, the 20th at 
Herbault and Vendome. 

From the latter place on the 27th, a detachment of 
two battalions, one squadron, and two guns marched 
through Montoire on Souge on the Braye, and there 
met a greatly superior force. General Chanzy had in 
fact marched a Division of his XVIIth Corps towards 
Vendome in order to draw the Prussians away from 


Tours. Behind St. Quentin the weak Prussian detach- 
ment found itself hemmed in between the river and the 
cliff, enclosed on every side, and under heavy fire. 
Lieutenant-Colonel von Boltenstern succeeded, how- 
ever, in cutting his way through. Without firing a 
shot the two Hanoverian battalions hurled themselves 
on the dense body of tirailleurs blocking their retreat, 
and fought their way out fighting hand to hand. 
Through the gap thus made the guns dashed after 
firing one round of grape-shot, and notwithstanding 
losses to the teams they ultimately got back safely to 
Montoire. The squadron also charged through two lines 
of riflemen and rejoined the infantry. . 

As a result of this incident General von Kraatz 
Koschlau (commanding 20th Division) brought up 
the remainder of his Division from Herbault, de- 
termined to clear up the situation by a fresh recon- 
noissance. Four battalions were to advance from 
Vendome, and the 1st Cavalry Brigade from Fre'teval 
was to scout towards Epuisay. On this same day, how- 
ever, ' General de Jouffroy was marching with two 
Divisions to the attack of Vendome. 

When, at about ten o'clock, the reconnoitring force 
from Vendome reached the Azay, it came under a hot 
fire from the further slope of the valley. Soon after 
six hostile battalions attacked its flank from the south, 
and repeated notice was brought in that considerable 
forces of the enemy were marching on Vendome direct, 
from north of Azay by Espereuse. General von Kraatz 
perceived that he would have to face a planned attack 
made by very superior numbers, and determined to 
restrict himself to the local defence of Vendome. Under 
cover of a battalion firmly maintaining its position at 
Huchepie, he accomplished in perfect order the retreat 
of the detachment, which then took up a position on the 
railway embankment to the west of the city. 

Further to the north the hostile columns, advancing 
over Espereuse, had already reached Bel Air. A 


battalion hastening up from Vendome re-occupied the 
chateau, but being outflanked on the right by a superior 
force withdrew, and likewise took up a position behind 
the railway. At about two o'clock the French attacked 
this position in dense swarms of sharpshooters, but came 
under the quick-fire of six batteries in position on the 
heights behind Vendome, which caused their right 
wing to give way. A column of the enemy advanced 
along the left bank of the Loir from Varennes against 
this artillery position, but hastily retreated out of range 
of the fire from it. 

The attacks directed against the railway from Bel Air 
and Tuileries were more serious ; but eight companies 
posted there repelled them. At four o'clock the French 
once more advanced in strength ; fortune wavered for 
some time, and at length, as darkness fell, they retired. 

The 1st Cavalry Brigade, accompanied by two com- 
panies and a horse battery, marched on this day on 
Danze*. Captain Spitz, with a handful of his West- 
phalian Fusiliers fell on two batteries halted there, and 
captured two guns and three limbers. With these and 
fifty prisoners General von Liideritz (commanding 1st 
Cavalry Brigade) returned to Fre'teval by about one 
o'clock, after pursuing the enemy as far as Epuisay. 

The attempt of the French on Vendome had utterly 
failed, and they now retreated to a greater distance. 
General von Kraatz, however, was ordered, in the pro- 
spect of a greater enterprise to be described later, to 
remain meanwhile in waiting on the Loir. 


In the south-eastern theatre of war the French had 
at last decided on some definite action. 

Garibaldi's Corps, assembled at Autun, advanced 


toward Dijon on the 24th (November) ; its detachments 
closed up by Sombernon and St. Seine, with various 
skirmishes, and subjected to night surprises. Cremer's 
Division advanced as far as Gevrey from the south. 
But as soon as reinforcements reached Dijon from Gray 
and Is sur Tille, the enemy was driven back, and now 
General von Werder on his part ordered the 1st 
Brigade of his Corps to march on Autun. General 
Keller (commanding 3rd Infantry Brigade, Baden 
Division), arrived in front of the town on December 1st, 
driving the hostile detachments before him. The pre- 
parations had been made to attack on the following day, 
when orders came for a rapid retreat. Fresh troops had 
become necessary at Chatillon, to replace the posts which 
had been stationed to protect the railway and which 
had been surprised at Gray, to cope with sorties by the 
garrison of Besan9on and also to observe Langres. 

The Prussian Brigade (26th) marched on Langres, along 
with two cavalry regiments and three batteries, and on 
the 16th it met the French in the vicinity of Longeau, 
in number about 2000. They were repulsed, losing 
200 wounded, fifty prisoners, two guns, and two am- 
munition waggons. General von der Goltz (command- 
ing the Brigade) in the next few days surrounded 
Langres, drove the Gardes-Mobiles posted outside into 
the fortress, and occupied a position opposite the 
northern front for the protection of the railways. 

In the country south of Dijon fresh assemblages of 
French troops had also now been observed. To disperse 
these General von Werder advanced on the 18th with 
two Baden Brigades on Nuits. In Boncourt, close to the 
town on the east, the advanced guard met with lively 
opposition, but carried the place by noon. The French, 
aided by their batteries posted on the heights west of 
Nuits, offered an obstinate defence in the deep railway 
cutting and at the Meuzin brook. When the main body 
of the Brigade came up at two o'clock, General von 
Gliimer (commanding Baden Division) ordered a general 


attack. With heavy losses, especially in superior officers, 
the infantry now rushed across the open plain at the 
double against the enemy, who was under cover, and 
who, after maintaining a fire at short range, was driven 
back on Nuits so late as four o'clock in the course of a 
hand-to-hand struggle. At five o'clock he abandoned 
the place before the on-coming battalions. 

The Germans had had to do with Cremer's Division, 
10,000 strong, which lost 1700 men, among them 650 
unwounded prisoners. The Baden Division had lost 
900 men. It encamped for the night on the market- 
place of the town and in the villages to the eastward. 
Next morning the French were found to have retreated 
still further, but the Germans were not strong enough 
for pursuit. The XlVth Corps had already been 
obliged to spare seven battalions for the investment of 
Belfort. General von Werder therefore returned to 
Dijon, where he assembled all the forces still left to 
him with those of General von der Goltz from Langres, 
and waited to see whether the enemy would again 
advance against him. But the month of December 
ended without any further disturbance. 


While the llnd Army was fighting on the Loire, 
General von Manteuffel, after the victory of Amiens, 
marched on Rouen. 

General Farre was indeed at Arras, in the rear of 
this movement, but the disorder in which his troops 
had retired after the battle made it probable that he 
would do nothing, at any rate for the present. The 
3rd Brigade, too, was left in Amiens, with two cavalry 
regiments and three batteries, to occupy the place and 
protect the important line of railway to Laon. 


The outlook to the west was more serious than to the 
north, for from thence at this juncture hostile forces 
threatened to interfere with the investment of Paris. 
General Briand was at Rouen with some 20,000 men, 
and had advanced his leading troops up to the Epte, 
where at Beauvais and G-isors he came in contact with 
the Guard Dragoon regiment and the Saxon Cavalry 
Division detached from the Army of the IVfeuse. The 
detachment of infantry which accompanied the latter 
had lost 150 men and a gun in a night surprise. 

When the 1st Army reached the Epte on December 
3rd, both bodies of cavalry joined its further march, 
and the French retired behind the Andelles. The 
Vlllth Corps reached the vicinity of Rouen after petty 
skirmishes by the way, and found an intrenched posi- 
tion abandoned at Isneauville ; and on December 5th 
General von Goeben entered the chief city of Nor- 
mandy. The 29th Brigade advanced on Pont Audemer, 
the 1st Corps crossed the Seine higher up at Les Andelys 
and Pont de 1'Arche. Vernon and Evreux were occu- 
pied, whence numbers of Gardes-Mobiles had retreated 
by railway to Liseux. On the northern bank the Guard 
Dragoon Regiment reconnoitred as far as Bolbec, and 
the Uhlan Brigade found no enemy in Dieppe. 

The French had retired to Havre, and a considerable 
force had been conveyed in ships that were in readiness, 
to Honfleur on the other bank of the Seine. The 16th 
Division continued its march on Havre, reaching Bolbec 
and Lillebonne on the llth. 

The already-mentioned directions from Versailles had 
been communicated in advance by the Chief of the 
General Staff, and in accordance with them General 
Manteuffel now decided on leaving only the 1st Corps 
on the Lower Seine, and returning with the VHIth to 
the Somme, where the French in Arras were now be- 
coming active. 

Besides making this evident by various small en- 
counters, on December 9th they had attacked a company 


detailed to protect the reconstruction of the railway at 
Hani, surprising it at night, and taking most of the men 
prisoners; while on the llth several French battalions 
advanced as far as La Fere. 

To check their further progress, the Army of the 
Meuse had meantime sent detachments to Soissons and 
Compiegne. General Count von der Groeben 1 (com- 
manding 3rd Cavalry Division) took up a position at 
Roye with part of the garrison of Amiens, and on 
the 16th met the 15th Division at Montdidier, which 
immediately moved up to the Somme. 

Only the citadel of Amiens now remained in German 
occupation ; but General von Manteuffel, who had not 
approved of the evacuation of the city, ordered its im- 
mediate reoccupation. The inhabitants had, however, 
remained peaceable, and on the 20th the 16th Division, 
which had given up the attack on Havre, arrived by 
way of Dieppe. 

A reconnoissance fight near Querrieux made it cer- 
tain that great numbers of French were drawn up on 
the Hallue, and General von Manteuffel now drew in 
the whole (Vlllth) Corps on Amiens. Reinforcements 
were shortly to be expected, for the 3rd Reserve Division 
was on the march, and had already reached St. Quentin. 
The 1st Corps was also ordered to send a brigade from 
Rouen to Amiens by railway, and the Commanding 
General determined to take the offensive at once with 
22,600 men, all his available force at the moment. 

General Faidherbe had assembled two Corps, the 
XXIInd and XXIITrd. His advance on Ham and La 
Fere, intended to divert the Prussians from attacking 
Havre, had succeeded. He next turned toward Amiens, 
advanced to within nine miles of the city, and now 
stood, with 43,000 men and eighty-two guns, fronting 
to the west behind the Hallue. Two Divisions held 
the left bank of this stream for about seven miles, from 

1 Lieut.-General, not to be confounded with Major- General of 
same name commanding 14fch Cavalry Brigade. 


its confluence at Daours up to Contay. two standing 
further back, at Corbie and Fravillers. The Somme 
secured the left flank. 

On December 23rd General von Manteuffel, with the 
VHIth Corps, advanced on the road to Albert. The 
3rd Brigade of the 1st Corps formed his reserve. His 
design was to keep the French engaged by the 15th 
Division on their front and left wing, and with the 16th 
Division to outflank their right. The unexpected ex- 
tension of the French right wing prevented this, and it 
became a frontal battle along the whole line. The 
greater height of the eastern bank afforded the French 
a commanding artillery position, and the villages lying 
at the foot had in every instance to be stormed. 

The French had drawn in their advanced posts to this 
line when at eleven o'clock the head of the 15th Divi- 
sion reached the grove of Querrieux, and brought up a 
battery. Two battalions of the 29th Brigade took the 
village at mid-day at the first onslaught, crossed the 
stream, and drove the French on the further bank out 
of Noyelles ; but they now found themselves over- 
whelmed by an artillery and infantry fire from all sides. 
The East Prussians l stormed the acclivity at about four 
o'clock, and took two guns which were in action, but 
were forced to fall back into the village before the 
advancing French masses. 

Soon after mid-day Fechencourt was won on the left, 
and Bussy on the right ; and the enemy after a feeble 
resistance was driven back across the stream. On the 
other hand, the German Artillery could at first do 
nothing against the strong and well-posted batteries 

1 Men of the 2nd battalion 33rd Regiment (East Prussian 
Fusiliers), belonging to the Vlllth Corps, whose territory is the 
Khine Provinces. It would be interesting to know how an East 
Prussian Kegiment came to be incorporated into the Khineland Corps. 
The 1st is the East Prussian Corps, and it was also under General v. 
Manteuffel, who had been the Corps Commander until the beginning 
of December, when its command passed to General v. Bentheim. 


of the enemy. Vecquemont, however, was stormed, 
though stoutly defended, and a bitter street-fight lasted 
till the afternoon. 

The 15th Division, against the intention of General 
Manteuffel, had become involved in fighting before the 
16th, engaged further to the left, could afford it any 
assistance. Not till four o'clock did the 31st Brigade 
arrive in front of Behencourt, when, crossing the river 
by flying bridges, it threw the enemy back into the 
village, where he maintained a stout resistance, but had 
ultimately to give way. The 32nd Brigade, on the 
extreme left, crossed the Hallue and entered Bavelin- 

Thus all the hamlets on the river were in German 
possession ; but the short December day was closing in, 
and further progress had to be postponed till the 
morrow. Even in the dark the French made several 
attempts to recover the positions they had lost, espe- 
cially about Contay, where they outflanked the German 
position. But their attacks were repulsed both there 
and at Noyelles. They succeeded, indeed, in getting 
into Vecquemont, but were driven out again, and 
were lost to the Prussians now following across the 
stream, who even seized Daours, so that ultimately 
the Germans held dominion over every passage of 
the Hallue. 

The battle was over by six o'clock. The troops 
moved into alarm-quarters in the captured villages, 
their foreposts standing close in front of the outlets. 

The attack had cost the Germans 900 men ; the de- 
fence had cost the French about 1000, besides 1000 
unwounded prisoners who were taken into Amiens. 

At daybreak on the 24th the French opened fire on 
General Manteuffel's position in the angle bounded by 
the Hallue and the Somme. 

It having been ascertained that the enemy's strength 
was almost double that of the Germans, it was decided 
this day on the latter side to remain on the defensive, 


pending the arrival of reinforcements, and to strengthen 
the defence of the positions gained. The Army-Reserve 
was pushed forward to Corbie to threaten the left flank 
of the French. 

But at two o'clock in the afternoon General Faid- 
herbe took up his retreat. His insufficiently-equipped 
troops had suffered fearfully through the bitter winter 
night, and were much shaken by the unfavourable issue 
of the fighting of the previous day. He therefore drew 
them back within the area of the covering fortresses. 
When on the 25th the two Prussian Divisions and the 
cavalry pursued beyond Albert, and then close up to 
Arras and as far as Cambrai, they found no formed 
bodies at all in front of those places, and only captured 
some hundreds of stragglers. 

When General Manteuffel had thus disposed of the 
enemy, he sent General von Mirus (commanding 6th 
Cavalry Brigade) to invest Peronne, while he himself 
returned to Rouen. 

Since it had detached to Amiens six battalions as a 
reinforcement, the 1st Army Corps (at Rouen) now re- 
mained only two brigades strong. The French had 
10,000 men on the right bank, and 12,000 on the left 
bank of the lower Seine. And these forces had come 
very close to Rouen ; particularly on the south side 
within nine miles. Meanwhile, however, the Com- 
manding-General had ordered back the 2nd Brigade 
from Amiens, and on its arrival the hostile bodies 
were once more driven back. 

(1st January, 1871.) 

In the northern section of hostilities, before the end 
of the year, the siege of Mezieres was brought to an 
end. After the battle of Sedan the Commandant had 
contributed supplies from the magazines of the fortress 


for the maintenance of the great mass of prisoners, and 
it had remained, therefore, for the time exempt from 
attack. Later the place precluded the use of the rail- 
road ; still it was only kept under provisional observa- 
tion till the 19th of December, when, after the fall 
of Montme'dy, the 14th Division moved up before 

The garrison numbered only 2000 men, but it was 
effectively assisted by bands of volunteers outside, who 
displayed extraordinary activity in this broken and 
wooded country. The place was not completely in- 
vested till the 25th. 

Mezieres stands on a mountain-spur which is sur- 
rounded on three sides by the Moselle, 1 but it is hemmed 
by a ring of heights. The character of the defences, 
which had been strengthened by Vauban, with their 
numerous salient angles, was not calculated to resist 
modern long-range artillery. The place exposed an 
isolated rampart of masonry in a circumference of 
from 2160 to 3250 yards, and although the long 
delay had been utilized in repairing the weak points by 
throwing up earthworks, a bombardment could not fail 
to be destructive to the defenders. 

When Verdun had surrendered, heavy siege guns 
were brought by rail from Clermont to a position close 
in front of the southern face of the fortress. The only 
hindrance to the erection of the batteries was the state 
of the soil, frozen to a depth of twenty inches ; and at 
a quarter past eight on the morning of the 31st of 
December 68 siege guns and 8 field-pieces opened fire. 
At first the fortress replied vigorously, but by the after- 
noon its artillery was utterly silenced, and the white 
flag was hoisted next day. The garrison were taken 
prisoners ; considerable stores and 132 guns fell into 
the hands of the besiegers. But the chief advantage 
gained was the opening of a new line of railway to 

1 Slip of pen for " Meuse." 



In Paris General Ducrot had been busily employed 
in making good the losses sustained in the battle of 
Villiers. A part of the greatly reduced 1st Corps had 
to be consigned to the reserve ; the Ilnd Army was re- 
organized. A projected sortie by way of the penin- 
sula of Gennevillers and the heights of Franconville 
had not been approved by the government. There was 
the confident expectation of seeing the Army of Orleans 
appear within a short time before the capital, and steps 
were being taken to reach it the hand, when on 
the 6th December a letter from General von Moltke 
announced the defeat of General d'Aurelle and the 
occupation of Orleans. A sortie to the south would 
thenceforth be aimless, and after long deliberation it 
was at length decided to break through the enemy's 
lines in a northern direction by a sortie in great 

It was true that the Moree brook afforded the besiegers 
some cover on that side, but only so long as the ice 
would not bear. And there were but three German 
corps of the gross strength of 81,200, extended over a 
front of about twenty-seven miles. 1 

By way of preparation earthworks were begun to be 
thrown up on the 13th, between Bondy and Coumeuve, 
the forts of the north front were furnished with a 
heavier artillery equipment, and the plateau of Mont 
Avron was occupied by batteries. Ninety rounds of 
ammunition were served out to each man, with six 
days' rations ; and four days' fodder for the horses. 
Packs were not to be carried, but rolled tent-pieces 
were to be worn as breast-protection. December 19th 

1 Viz., the section of the investment line on the northern side, 
from the Marne above, to the Seine below Paris, held by the Army of 
the Meuse, consisting of the IVth, the Guard, and XTTth (Saxon) 

s 2 


was the day first set for the enterprise, but there 
was a postponement to the 21st. 

Thus, during the larger half of December the in- 
vesting army had remained almost wholly undisturbed 
by the defenders. Regular food, warm winter clothing, 
and abundant supplies of comforts which the exertions 
of the postal service afforded, had maintained the troops 
in a thoroughly satisfactory condition. 

The preparations which the garrison was making for 
a new effort did not escape the notice of the besieging 
forces. Deserters brought in reports of an imminent 
sortie. On the 20th information came from the posts 
of observation that large masses of troops were assem- 
bling about Merlan and Noisy le Sec ; and early on the 
21st the 2nd Guard Division, by order of the Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Army of the Meuse, stood in 
readiness at the passages of the Mor6e. Part of the 1st 
Division remained in reserve at Gonesse ; the other 
portion was to be relieved by the 7th Division, and 
made available for action. On the right wing the 
Guard Landwehr Division occupied the section from 
Chatou to Carrieres St. Denis ; on the left a brigade 
of the Saxon Corps held Sdvran. The 4th Infantry 
Division of the Ilnd Corps moved to Malnoue to 
support, in case of need, the Wiirtembergers, to whom 
was allotted the task of holding resolutely the advanced 
position of Joinville opposite the French. 

To divert the attention of the Germans from the 
true point of attack, a brisk fire was to be opened in 
early morning from Fort Valerien ; strong bodies were 
to assail the right wing of the Guard Corps, General 
Vinoy was to lead the Illrd Army against the Saxons, 
and Admiral de la Ronciere was to fall upon Le 
Bourget with his Army Corps. This latter post, pro- 
jecting as it did so prominently, it was essential to 
seize first of all, and not till then was General Ducrot, 
with the Ilnd Paris Army, to cross the Morce near 
Blanc Mesnil and Aulnay. 


Bourget was held by only four companies of the 
Queen Elizabeth Regiment, and one Guard Rifle 
battalion. When the mist rose at a quarter to eight, 
there was rained on the garrison a heavy fire from the 
guns of the forts and many batteries, as well as from 
armour-clad railway trucks. Half an hour later closed 
hostile columns marched on the place from east and 
west. In the former direction its outskirts were suc- 
cessfully defended for some time against seven French 
battalions, and on the opposite side five more were 
brought to a halt by the quick fire of the defenders in 
front of the cemetery l ; but a detachment of marine 
fusiliers penetrated unhindered into the village by its 
northern entrance. Pressed upon on all sides by over- 
whelming numbers, the defenders were compelled to 
fall back into the southern part of the village. The 
garrison of the cemetery also strove to force its way 
thither, but part of it fell into the enemy's hands. 
The French advanced only step by step, suffering 
heavy loss in bloody street-fighting, but they did not 
succeed in obtaining possession of the buildings or glass- 
factory. Five fresh battalions of the French reserve 
marched up from St. Denis on the gas-works, and 
battered down the garden-wall with cannon-fire, but 
still could not crush there the steady resistance of the 

At nine o'clock the latter were reinforced by one 
company, and at ten o'clock by seven more companies, 
which in a bloody hand-to-hand struggle, fought their 
way to the cemetery and glass-factory. By eleven the 

1 " Kirchhof " seems to stand in German not only for our " church- 
yard/' but also for our " graveyard," in which latter there need be no 
church. In the case of Le Bourgefc the church stands in the village 
street the reader will remember de Neuville's striking picturc- 
and the graveyard lies outside the shabby village, and has the 
aspect of the modern "cemetery." That term has therefore been 


last bodies of assailants were driven out, and Le 
Bourget, in expectation of a renewed attack, was occu- 
pied by fifteen companies. Two batteries of field 
artillery, which had been in brisk action on the Moree, 
were brought up to the village. 

General Ducrot had meanwhile waited in vain for the 
signal which was to have announced the capture of Le 
Bourget. He had pushed forward the heads of his 
columns beyond Bondy and Drancy, when he was 
warned by the disastrous issue of the struggle on his 
left to abandon his intended attack on the line of the 

The anticipated important enterprise lapsed into a 
mere cannonade, to which the German field-guns did 
their best to reply. In the afternoon the French retired 
from the field. 

They had lost, by their own account, about 600 men. 
The troops of the Prussian Guard Corps lost 400, but 
360 prisoners remained in their hands. In the evening 
the outposts resumed their previous positions. 

The various feigned attacks of the Parisian garrison 
were without effect, and produced no alteration in the 
dispositions made on the German side. An advance 
from St. Denis against Stains was repulsed, and two 
gunboats on the Seine had to go about in consequence 
of the fire of four field batteries on Orgemont. The 
trivial sortie on Chatou was scarcely heeded. General 
Vinoy indeed led forward a large force along the right 
bank of the Mame, but that was not till the afternoon, 
when the fight at Le Bourget was over. The Saxon 
outposts retired into the fighting position near Le 
Chenay. One of the battalions massed there drove 
the enemy out of Maison Blanche that same evening, 
another made a grasp at Ville Evrart, where fighting 
went on till midnight ; it lost seventy men, but brought 
in 600 prisoners. Next morning the French abandoned 
Ville Evrart, under heavy fire from the German artil- 
lery on the heights on the opposite side of the river. 


Paris had now been invested for three months. The 
always distasteful expedient of a bombardment of a 
place so extensive could not of itself bring about a 
decisive result ; and on the German side there was the 
full conviction that only a regular siege could accom- 
plish the wished-for end. But the operations of the 
engineers had to be delayed till the artillery should 
be in a position to co-operate with them. 

It has already been shown that the siege-artillery 
had been first employed against those fortified places 
which interrupted the rearward communications of the 
army. There were indeed 235 heavy pieces standing 
ready at Villacoublay ; but it had proved impossible as 
yet to bring up the necessary ammunition for the attack 
which, once begun, must on no account be interrupted. 

By the end of November, railway communication 
had been restored up to Chelles, but the greater part of 
the ammunition had meanwhile been deposited at 
Lagny, and from thence would now have to be carried 
forward by the country roads. The ordinary two- 
wheeled country carts proved totally unfit for the 
transport of shells, and only 2000 four-wheeled waggons 
had been collected by requisitions made over a wide 
area. There were brought up from Metz 960 more 
with horses sent from Germany, and even the teams of 
the Illrd Army were taken into the service, though 
they were almost indispensable just then to contribute 
towards the efficiency of the army fighting on the 
Loire. Finally, all the draught horses of the pontoon 
columns, of the field-bridge trains, and of the trench- 
tool columns were brought into the ammunition-trans- 
port service. A new difficulty arose when the break- 
ing-up of the ice necessitated the removal of the 
pontoon bridges over the Seine. The roads were so 
bad that it took the waggons nine days to get from 
Nanteuil to Villacoublay and back. Many broke 
down under their loads, and the drivers constantly 
took to flight. And moreover, at the instance of the 


Chief of the Staff there was now laid upon the artillery 
yet an additional task to be earned out forthwith. 

Though the besieged had not hitherto succeeded in 
forcing their way through the enemy's lines, they now 
set about widening their elbow room, with intent that 
by their counter-approaches the ring of investment 
should be further and yet further pushed back, until 
at last it should reach the breaking point. On the 
south side the French entrenchments already extended 
beyond Vitry and Villejuif to the Seine ; and on the 
north, between Drancy and Fort de 1'Est, there was an 
extensive system of trenches and batteries reaching to 
within 1100 yards of Le Bourget, which in part might 
in a manner be dignified with the title of a regular 
engineer-attack. The hard frost had indeed hindered 
the further progress of these works, but they were 
armed with artillery and occupied by the Ilnd Army. 
And further, a singularly favourable point of support for 
a sortie to the east as well as to the north, was afforded 
to the French in the commanding eminence of Mont 
Avron, which, armed with seventy heavy guns, pro- 
jected into the Marne valley like a wedge between the 
northern and southern investing lines. 

In order to expel the French from this position fifty 
heavy guns from Germany, and twenty-six from before 
La Fere were brought up under the command of 
Colonel Bartsch. By the exertions of a whole battalion 
as a working party, two groups of battery emplace- 
ments were erected in spite of the severe frost on the 
western slope of the heights behind Raincy and Gagny, 
and on the left upland of the Marne Valley near Noisy 
le Grand, thus encompassing Mont Avron on two sides 
at a distance of from 2160 to 3250 feet. 

At half-past eight on the morning of 27th December 
those seventy-six guns opened fire. A heavy snow- 
storm interfered with accurate aim, and prevented any 


observation of the execution done. Mont Avron and 
Forts Nogent and Rosny replied rapidly and heavily. 

The German batteries lost two officers and twenty- 
five gunners, several gun-carriages broke down under 
their own fire, and everything pointed to the prospect 
that no definite result would be obtained on that 

But the batteries had fired more effectually than had 
been supposed. The clear weather of the 28th allowed 
of greater precision ; the Prussian fire proved most 
telling, making fearful havoc in the numerous and 
exposed French infantry garrison. Mont Avron was 
silenced, and only the forts kept up a feeble fire. 
General Trochu, who was present in person, ordered 
the abandonment of the position, which was so effec- 
tually accomplished in the night by the energetic 
commander, Colonel Stoffel, that only one disabled 
gun was left behind. 

On the 29th the French fire was silent, and the hill 
was found deserted. The Germans had no intention of 
continuing to occupy the position. Their batteries 
now turned their fire on the forts, which suffered 
severely, and on the earthworks near Bondy. 

By the end of the year the besiegers had succeeded 
in collecting the most indispensable ammunition in 
Villacoublay. The engineer operations were entrusted 
to General Kameke ; the artillery was under the com- 
mand of General Prince Hohenlohe. 1 The battery 
emplacements had long been finished, and with 
the dawn of the new year 100 guns of the largest 
calibres stood ready to open fire on the south front of 

1 Details as to the personnel of the artillery and engineer com- 
mands of the siege operations will be found on a later page. 



While the French forces were engaged in constant 
fighting, in the north on the Seine and the Somme, in 
the south on the Loire and the Saone, General Bour- 
baki's army had nowhere made itself prominent. Since 
the 8th of December, when the 6th Cavalry Division 
had reported its presence at Vierzon, all trace of it had 
been lost. It was of course of the greatest importance to 
the supreme Command that it should know the where- 
abouts of so large an army ; only the Ilnd German 
Army could acquire this information, and on the 22nd 
it received instructions to obtain the required enlighten- 
ment by means of reconnaissances. - 

On this errand General von Rantzau (commanding 
25th Cavalry Brigade) set out from Montargis by the 
right bank of the Loire towards Briare, where he found 
that the French had abandoned their position on the 
25th ; in the course of the next few days he met them, 
and was defeated. 

The Hessian detachment was reinforced to a strength 
of three battalions, four squadrons and six guns, but 
was nevertheless driven back to Gien on the 1st of 
January. The French had displayed a force of several 
thousand Gardes-Mobiles, twelve guns, and a body of 
marine infantry. A noticeable fact was that some of 
the prisoners brought in belonged to the XVIIIth 
French Corps, which formed part of the 1st Army of 
the Loire. 

A regiment of the 6th Cavalry Division sent out to 
reconnoitre into the Sologne, returned with the report 
that strong hostile columns were marching on Aubigny 
Ville. On the other hand, two waggon-drivers who had 
been taken prisoners declared that the French troops had 
been already moved from Bourges by rail, and the news- 
paper reports also pointed to the same conclusion ; still, 
too much weight could not be attached to mere rumour 
as against circumstantial intelligence. It was therefore 


assumed at Versailles that the 1st Army of the Loire 
was still about Bourges, and that General Bourbaki, 
when again in a condition to fight, would act in 
concert with General Chanzy. 

The two armies might attack the Germans at Orleans 
from opposite sides, or one might engage and detain 
them there, while the other inarched to relieve the 

This, in fact, was what General Chanzy had in view. 
Since the 21st of December he had been resting in 
quarters in and about Le Mans, where railways from 
four directions facilitated the bringing up of new levies. 
His troops had no doubt great hardships to contend 
with there. In lack of shelter for such great masses 
part had to camp out under canvas in the snow, and 
suffered severely from the intense cold. The hospitals 
were crammed with wounded and small-pox patients. 
On the other hand, this close concentration was 
favourable to the reorganization of' the details and the 
restoration of discipline ; and the news from Paris 
urged the General to renewed action. 

General Trochu had sent word that Paris unaided 
could not accomplish her freedom. Even if a sortie 
should prove successful, the necessary supplies for the 
maintenance of an army could not be carried with it, 
and therefore nothing but the simultaneous appearance 
of an army from without could meet the case. Now 
General Chanzy was quite ready to march on Paris, 
but it was indispensable that he should first know 
exactly what Generals Bourbaki and Faidherbe were 

It was clearly evident that concerted action on the 
part of three great Army Corps could only be devised 
and controlled by the chief power. The General there- 
fore sent an officer of his Staff on the 23rd of December 
to Gambetta at Lyons, to express his conviction that 
only a combined and prompt advance could avert the 
fall of the capital. But the Minister believed that he 


knew better. The first news of a quite different dis- 
position of Bourbaki's army only reached General 
Ohanzy on the 29th, when it was already entered upon. 
Nor in other respects did Gambetta's reply convey 
either distinct orders or sufficient information. " You 
have decimated the Mecklenburgers," wrote Gambetta, 
" the Bavarians no longer exist, the rest of the German 
Army is a prey to disquietude and exhaustion. Let 
us persevere, and we shall drive these hordes from our 
soil with empty hands." The plan of the Provisional 
Government was to be the one "which would most 
demoralize the German army." l 

Under instructions so obscure from the chief autho- 
rity General Chanzy, relying on his own strength, 
determined to make his way to Paris without other 
assistance ; but he soon found himself in serious 

On the German side there was no time to be lost in 
utilizing their position between the two hostile armies, 
advantageous as it was so long as those armies were 
not too near. The simultaneous attacks on the 31st 
December at Vendc A >me on the Loir, and at Briare on 
the Loire, seemed to indicate that the two were already 
acting on a concerted plan. 

On New Year's day Prince Frederick Charles received 
telegraphic instructions to re-cross the Loir without 
delay, and strike at General Chanzy, as being the 
nearest and most imminently dangerous enemy. With 
this object the Ilnd Army was strengthened by the 
addition of the XHIth Corps of the Grand Duke of 
Mecklenburg (17th and 22nd Divisions) and the 2nd 
and 4th Divisions of Cavalry. And in addition the 
5th Cavalry Division was detailed to the duty of 
covering the right flank of the advance. 

Only the 25th (Hessian) Division was to be left in 
Orleans as a possible check on General Bourbaki, 
and to maintain observation on Gien. But as a fur- 
1 " Qui dcmoralisera le plus 1'armee Allemande." 


ther provision, in case of need against a possible advance 
of the Ilnd Army of the Loire, General von Zastrow 
was ordered to the Arman^on with the Vllth Corps ; l 
and further the Ilnd Corps from the besieging lines 
was set in march to Montargis. 

Prince Frederick Charles' arrangement was to have 
his three corps assembled on the line Vendome More'e 
by 6th January, and to order the XHIth from'Chartres 
on Brou. 


The Germans had hoped to strike the enemy in his 
winter quarters ; but General Chanzy had provided 
against surprise by a cordon of strong advanced posi- 
tions. Nogent le Rotrou on his left was held by Rous- 
seau's Division, and numerous bands of volunteers ; 
from thence strong detachments were posted through 
Vibraye and St. Calais up to the Braye brook, where 
General Jouffroy had made a halt after the last attack 
on VendOme ; and on the right were General Barry- at La 
Chartre and de Curten's Division at Chateau Renault. 

Both wings of the German army came into collision 
with these forces on the 5th of January. 

General Baumgarth (commanding 2nd Cavalry 
Brigade), on the German left, had assembled at St. 
Amand three battalions, two cavalry regiments and 
two batteries. The 57th regiment stormed Villeporcher 
in the direction of Chateau Renault, evacuated it in 
face of an attack by four French battalions, and finally 
recaptured and held it. This much, at any rate, was 
thus ascertained, that a not inconsiderable force of the 
enemy was assembled in front of the left wing of the 
German army now marching westward. . While this 
movement was in prosecution General Baumgarth was 

! In effect, with only the Corps-headquarter and the 13th Division 
the 14th Division being still in the north-east. 


thenceforth to undertake its protection, and with this 
object he was reinforced by the addition of the 6th 
Cavalry Division and the 1st Cavalry Brigade. 

On the right wing the 44th Brigade, in its advance 
on Nogent le Rotrou, also had had a sharp encounter. 
It carried the enemy's position at La Fourche, and 
captured three guns, with a large number of prisoners. 
The main body of the Corps (the Xlllth) reached 
Beaumont les Autels and Brou, but the cavalry failed 
to penetrate the woods to the north of Nogent. 

January Qtk. At six in the morning the advanced 
guard of General Baumgarth's detachment started on 
march to Prunay, but the main body could not follow, 
since it was attacked in force at about half-past nine. 
With the object of observing the enemy, the infantry 
had been scattered in detached posts in a wide exten- 
sion from Ambloy to Villeporcher, and only a small 
reserve remained at La Noue. The fight soon assumed 
greater expansion, and the defence with difficulty main- 
tained the line Les Haies Pias, the turning of the 
German left flank being seriously threatened, upon 
which the 6th Cavalry Division moved up, but could 
only enter the fight with one horse battery. The 
reserve, however, moved up along the high road to 
Chateau Renault and repulsed the enemy, who had 
already forced his way into Les Haies. But when 
he renewed the attack in strong columns and developed 
four batteries against the place, the reserve was obliged 
to retire behind the Brenne. 

Meanwhile the 16th Regiment, which had already 
reached Ambloy on its march to Vendome, turned 
back to St. Amand in support, and the just assembled 
38th Infantry Brigade deployed between Neuve St. 
Amand and St. Amand with a strong force of cavalry 
on its flanks. But as by some mistake St. Amand was 
evacuated, Duke William of Mecklenburg (command- 
ing 6th Cavalry Division) ordered a further retreat. 
The infantry, however, had already come to a halt at 


Huisseau and took quarters there. The advanced 
guard turned into Ambloy; the cavalry fell back 
partly on that place and partly on Villeromain. 

During the engagement about St. Amand the Xth 
Corps itself advanced on Montoire in two columns 
along the left bank of the Loire, leaving on its right a 
battalion in front of Vendome to secure the debouche 
of the Illrd Corps through that place. 

When the 20th Division reached St. Rimay at 
about one o'clock, it found the heights on the opposite 
side of the Loir occupied by General Barry's troops. 
The massed German batteries were brought up to the 
southern ridge of the valley and soon drove the French 
off the broad flats ; but the defile of Les Roches in the 
front remained quite unassailable. The broken bridge 
at Lavardin, lower down the stream, was therefore 
made practicable by the pioneers. The 19th Division 
having meanwhile reached that place, several bat- 
talions crossed from the south side to attack Les 
Roches, and easily dislodged the French. As darkness 
came on, preventing any further advance, the Corps 
found quarters in and about Montoire. 

The Commander of the Illrd Corps had intended to 
make a halt on this day before Vendome, and only push 
forward his advanced guard as far as the Azay brook ; 
but this detachment soon met with so stout opposition, 
that the main force was compelled to advance to its 
assistance. General de Jouffroy, with intent to dis- 
engage General de Curten, had renewed the attack on 
Vendome, and so the advanced guard of the 5th Divi- 
sion, approaching Villiers at about half-past one, found 
the 10th Jager Battalion, which had accompanied the 
march of its Corps along the right bank of the Loir, 
engaged at that place in a sharp fight which had 
already lasted four hours. The advanced guard 
brought up its two batteries on to the plateau north of 
the village, and the 48th Regiment made its way 
forward to the slope of the lower Azay valley, the 


broad flat meadows of which were commanded by the 
French long-range rifles and completely swept by the 
fire of the artillery And here then the enemy came 
over to the attack in dense swarms of sharp-shooters. 

The 8th Regiment presently came up in support, 
and after a short fight took possession of Le Gue du 
Loir on its left flank ; then the further reinforcement 
arrived of the 10th Infantry Brigade, and by degrees 
the number of Prussian guns increased to thirty-six. 
The French artillery could not endure their fire, and 
within half an hour it was possible to turn it on the 
hostile infantry. At about half-past four the German 
battalions crossed the valley, made themselves masters 
of the vineyards and farms on the opposite heights, and 
finally stormed Mazange. Under cover of the darkness 
the French retired to Lunay. 

Further to the right the advance guard of the Gth 
Division, having left Vendome at eleven o'clock, found 
the battalion left by the Xth Corps at Courtiras fighting 
hard against a very superior force of the French. 
The llth Brigade advanced on the Azay ravine, 
though not without heavy loss, and when at about 
half-past three the 1 2th also came up, and the artillery 
went to work vigorously, Azay was successfully stormed 
and the force established itself firmly on the heights 
beyond. Repeated counterstrokes of the enemy were 
repulsed in succession, and by five o'clock the fighting 
ended with the retirement of the French. 

The Illrd Army Corps took up quarters between 
the Azay stream and the Loir. A detachment 
occupied Danze, higher up the river. The Corps lost 
thirty-nine officers and above 400 men, but captured 
400 prisoners. 

In the course of the day the IXth Corps crossed 
the upper Loir about Freteval and St. Hilaire, without 
opposition, and advanced along the high road to St. 
Calais, as far as Busloup. The Xlllth remained at 
Unverre, Beaumont, and La Fourche. 


Prince Frederick Charles had not been led into any 
change of purpose by the attack at St. Amand and the 
obstinate resistance at Azay. The XHIth Corps was 
expected to reach Montmirail, and the Xlth Epuisay, 
both on the 7th ; the Illrd was to continue the attack 
on the deep-cut channel of the Braye brook. But after 
the reverse experienced at St. Amand, the presence of a 
strong hostile force on the left flank could not be suffered 
to remain unregarded. Duke William had already been 
given verbal orders at the Head-quarter in Vendome, 
to turn back forthwith to St. Amand with the 6th 
Cavalry Division, and in addition General von Voigts- 
Rhetz was ordered to support General Baumgarth if 
necessary with his whole Corps. 

The country between the Loir and the Sarthe 
through which the Germans had to march, presents 
peculiar difficulties to an invading force, and affords 
marked advantages to the defence. 

All the roads leading to Le Mans intersect at right 
angles, stream after stream flowing through broad and 
deeply cut meadow-valleys. Groves, villages,, and 
chateaux with walled parks cover the highly cultivated 
upland ; vineyards, orchards and gardens are enclosed 
by hedges, ditches or fences. 

Hence almost the whole burthen of the impending 
fighting would have to be borne by the infantry ; 
nowhere was there space for the deployment of cavalry, 
and the use of artillery needs must be extremely 
limited, since in a country so greatly enclosed guns 
could only singly be brought into action. The enemy's 
central position could be approached by only four main 
roads, and the communications between the marching 
columns, starting at the least some thirty miles apart, 
would be confined to the cross roads, almost impassable 
from the severity of the season and the hostility of the 
inhabitants. Any lateral mutual support was at first 
quite out of the question. 

Under such conditions the movements could only 


be guided by general instructions, and even the leaders 
of lower grades had to be left free to act at their own 
individual discretion. Specific orders for each day, 
though they would of course be issued, could not in 
many cases be possibly carried out. In the Army 
Headquarter it could not be foreseen in what situation 
each individual corps might find itself after a day's 
fighting. Reports could only come in very late at 
night, and the orders drawn up however early would 
often arrive only after the troops, because of the short- 
ness of the day, had already set out on the march. 

January Itli. In obedience to orders from the Army 
Headquarter, General Voigts-Rhetz on the 7th sent 
the part of the 19th Division which had already 
reached Vendome, back to St. Amand in reinforce- 
ment. The 38th Brigade had again entered that 
place early in the day, and General von Hartmann, 
taking over its command, advanced along the Chateau 
Renault high road, the cavalry moving on both flanks. 

The column first struck the enemy near Villechauve 
at mid-day. A thick fog prevented the employment of 
the artillery, and it was at the cost of heavy loss that 
Villechauve, Pias, and various other farmsteads were 
captured. Villeporcher and the adjacent villages 
remained in possession of the French, who at about 
two o'clock advanced by the high road to the attack 
with several battalions. The Aveather had cleared, and 
it was soon evident that this offensive was only intended 
to mask the beginning of the enemy's retreat to the 
westward. The troops took quarters where they stood, 
and the reinforcements forwarded to them remained at 
St. Amand. 

The Xth Corps, awaiting the return of the latter, 
remained in its quarters about La Chartre ; only the 
14th Cavalry Brigade went on up to La Richardiere to 
establish connection with the Illrd Corps. But it did 
not succeed in taking the village with dismounted 


General von Alvensleben l hoped to overtake the 
French on the hither side of the glen of Braye, and 
by turning their left wing to drive them on to the Xth 
Corps, whose co-operation had been promised. The 
Illrd Corps advanced in the direction of Epuisay, 
leaving one brigade to garrison Mazange, and when 
tidings reached it on the march that the French had 
evacuated Lunay and Fortan, that brigade also 
followed by way of the latter village. 

Epuisay was found to be strongly held, and in the 
meantime the advanced guard of the IXth Corps, 
advancing from Busloup, also arrived there. But it was 
not till half-past one that the French were expelled from 
the little town, which they had strongly barricaded ; and 
on the hither side of the Braye they renewed their resist- 
ance in the numerous hamlets and farmsteads. A 
long fire fight was kept up in the thick fog ; but at 
length, at about four o'clock, the 12th Brigade pushed 
forward to the edge of the valley. The 9th Brigade 
took possession of Savigny without meeting any serious 
opposition, and Sarge was stormed in the dusk. 

The Illrd Corps had lost forty-five men and had 
taken 200 prisoners. It found quarters behind the 
Braye, but threw forward outposts on its western bank. 
The IXth Corps found shelter in and about Epuisay, 
and thus, as a matter of. fact, two corps were now 
crowded on one of the few available roads. The 2nd 
Cavalry i Division went to the right, towards Mon- 
doubleau, to make connection with the XHIth Corps. 
The French retreated to St. Calais. 

The order from the Army Head-quarter that the 
XHIth Corps was to march to Montmirail, had been 
issued on the presumption that it would have reached 
Nogent le Rotrou on the 6th, whereas in fact, as has 

1 Lieut.-General Alvensleben II, commanding Illrd Army Corps, 
not to be confounded with Infantry-General Alvensleben I, command- 
ing IVth Corps. 

T 2 


been shown, it had remained at La Fourche, Beau- 
mont, and Unverre. The Grand Duke, who expected 
to experience a stout resistance, did not pass to the 
attack of Nogent till the 7th. When the 22nd Division 
arrived there, it found all the villages deserted in the 
Upper Huisne valley and was able to enter Nogent with- 
out any fighting at two o'clock. It took up quarters 
there, the 4th Cavalry Division at Thirion Gardais ; 
and only an advanced guard followed the enemy. It 
found the wood near Le Gibet strongly occupied, and 
did not succeed in forcing it till after night-fall. 

The French had retired to La Ferte Bernard. 

The 17th Division had at first followed in reserve. 
But at one o'clock, in consequence of the reports 
brought in, the Grand Duke detached it southward to 
Authon ; and in order to follow the Head- quarter in- 
structions as closely as possible he did at least push a 
detachment of two battalions, two cavalry regiments, 
and one battery towards Montmirail, under the com- 
mand of General von Rauch. 

January 8th. Finding on the morning of the 8th 
that the enemy was not advancing to the attack of St. 
Amand, General von Hartmann at nine o'clocksent 
back the troops which had crossed the river to his 
support. At ten o'clock also he received instructions 
to join the Xth Corps ; but the French still continued 
to hold Villeporcher and the forest lying behind it, and 
were also drawn up across the Chateau Renault high 
road in a very advantageous position behind the 
Brenne. The General recognized the necessity of 
making a decisive stand here, and took the best means 
to that end by acting himself on the offensive. Supported 
by the fire of his battery, and accompanied by the 
cavalry on either flank, six companies of the 60th 
Regiment marched on Villeporcher, drove back its 
defenders in flight into the forest of Chateau Renault, 
and took 100 prisoners. On the left the 9th Uhlans drove 
the Chasseurs d'Afrique before them. Not till darkness 


had set in did General von Hartmann proceed in the 
direction of Montoire. 

General von Voigts-Rhetz had already set out from 
thence very early in the day. The night's frost had 
covered the roads with ice, which cruelly impeded all 
movements of troops. The road on the right bank of 
the Loir was in many places broken up. It passed 
through a succession of narrow denies, and on emerging 
from these the advanced guard found itself face to face 
with a force of about 1000 Gardes-Mobiles, who had 
taken up a position in front of La Chartre. Their 
mitrailleuses were soon forced to a hasty retreat by the 
fire of two field-guns, but it was only after a prolonged 
struggle that the infantry, moving with difficulty, 
succeeded at 4 o'clock in entering the town, where it 
took up quarters. Two battalions which were sent 
further on the road, had to fight for their night's 
shelter, and all through the night were exchanging shots 
with the enemy at close quarters, of whom 230 were 
taken prisoners. 

The 39th Brigade, which left Ambloy in the 
morning, could follow the corps only as far as 

General von Schmidt with the 14th Cavalry Brigade 
was sent to the right, to try to make connection with 
the Illrd Corps. He was received at Vance with a 
sharp fire. The leading squadron made way for the 
horse battery, and a volley of grape-shot from the 
foremost gun drove the dismounted hostile Cuirassiers 
behind the hedges. When two more guns were brought 
up into position, their shell fire dispersed in every 
direction a long column of cavalry. 

Colonel von Alvensleben pursued the French cavalry 
with the 15th Uhlan Regiment till he came upon a 
body of infantry guarding the Etang-fort brook. The 
brigade halted at Vance, after putting about 100 
French hors de combat. 

Of the Illrd Corps the 6th Division had moved for- 


ward through St. Calais. The French tried to hold the 
cuttings on the greatly broken up roads ; but they 
nowhere awaited a serious attack, and made off, for 
the most part in carts which were in waiting. The 
5th Division, proceeding on a parallel front on the left, 
met with no opposition ; but the state of the roads 
made the march extremely difficult. The corps halted 
on the hither side of Bouloire. The IXth Corps came 
up behind it into St. Calais. 

The Grand Duke had moved both Divisions of the 
Xlllth Corps on La Forte* Bernard. On their way 
they came across none but stragglers, but they found 
the roads so utterly cut up that not till four in the 
afternoon did they reach the place, where they took up 
quarters. The French had retired to Connerre. The 
4th Cavalry Division was to secure the right flank on 
the further advance, but could not get as far forward 
as Belleme ; on the other hand, General von Ranch's 
(commanding 15th Cavalry Division) detachment 
despatched leftward towards Montmirail, surprised the 
French in Vibraye, and took possession of the bridge 
over the Braye. 

By the evening of this day the two flank Corps of 
the German Army were at an equal distance from 
Le Mans, both on the same high road which crosses 
the district of the Quere from La Ferte Bernard in 
a southerly direction through St. Calais and La 
Chartre ; the Illrd Corps was further in advance, 
separated from each of them by the interval of a long 
march. A closer concentration of the forces could be 
attained only by a further advance along the converg- 
ing highways. Prince Frederick Charles therefore 
issued an order at ten o'clock that evening, for the 
Xth Corps to march next day to Parigne 1'Eveque, the 
Tllrd to Ardenay, and the Xlllth on to the heights of 
Montfort, the advanced guard of each to be pushed 
forward beyond these respective points. The IXth, 
in the centre, was to follow, while General von Hart- 


mann was to protect Vendome with the 38th Brigade 
and the 1st Division of Cavalry. 

But the distances prevented the flanking corps 
advancing from La Chartre and La Ferte from reaching 
their respective destinations, and, on the 9th of January, 
snow-storms, ice-bound roads, and thick fog further 
combined to make their progress arduous beyond 

January 9th. General von Hartmann marched the 
38th Infantry Brigade on Chateau Renault, and entered 
the town at one o'clock, to find that Curten's French 
Division had started early in the morning for St. 

The incomplete Xth Corps moved this day in two 
columns ; the detachment of General von Woyna (com- 
manding 39th Infantry Brigade) was to march from 
Pont de Braye by Vance, the remainder of the corps 
from La Chartre by way of Brives to Grand Luce. 

The 20th Division had scarcely set out by this route 
from L'Homme, when it encountered shell and mitrail- 
leuse-fire. Here there happened for once to be room 
for three batteries to advance, but in the heavy snow- 
fall aim was out of the question. The infantry, how- 
ever, by degrees drove the enemy out of sundry hamlets 
and farmsteads, and back across the Brives. To pursue 
him beyond that stream a makeshift bridge needed first 
to be thrown across with some loss of time, and then 
Chahaignes was to be seized. But in the narrow valley 
which had to be now traversed a vigorous resistance 
was to be counted on. The state of the road was such 
that the artillerymen and cavalry had to dismount and 
lead their horses. The General in command rode on 
a gun-carriage ; his staff went on foot. Some horses 
which had fallen in front presently stopped the way 
for the whole column ; and it therefore became neces- 
sary to send back all the Corps- artillery, which was to 
try next day to come on by Avay of Vance*. 

To facilitate the march of the 20th Division, General 


von Wovna had been instructed to deviate from his 
direct road and attack the enemy's left. When he ap- 
proached the valley the fighting had fallen silent, and 
the detachment turned back to Vance ; but at Brives 
at about half-past three the main column met with 
fresh resistance, being received with a brisk fire from 
the heights north-east of the village. Not even the in- 
fantry could move outside of the high road, so there 
was no alternative to a frontal advance along it. A 
closed attack by the 39th Brigade broke up and routed 
the enemy. At half- past six in the evening, when quite 
dark, Colonel von Valentini set out for St. Pierre with 
four battalions, and took there 100 French prisoners 
and a loaded train of 100 waggons. The Xth Corps 
spent the night with only its advance in Brives and 
Vance, but its quarters reached back nearly to the valley 
of the Loir. Nor had the 14th Brigade of Cavalry 
been able to make any further headway. 

Of the Illrd Corps the 6th Division had inarched 
by the high road through Bouloire, with the artillery 
corps ; the 5th on the left along the by-roads. The 
advanced guard of the 6th Division, after a lively 
fire-fight, expelled the enemy from his positions 
in front of Ardenay, but there at two o'clock had to 
encounter a determined resistance. After General de 
Jouffroy had withdrawn from St. Calais to the south- 
ward, General Chanzy pushed forward Paris' Division to 
secure the high road leading from thence to Le Mans. 
It had taken up a position near Ardenay, occupying the 
chateau on the right, and on the left posting four guns 
and two mitrailleuses near La Butte. To oppose 
these there was only room on the road for two German 
guns, which, however, in the course of half an hour 
silenced the mitrailleuses, and carried on the unequal 
contest with the greatest obstinacy. At about four 
o'clock five companies of the 12th Brigade stormed the 
chateau of Ardenay, while others, crossing the meadow- 
land to the right,\forced their way through a patch of 


wood towards La Butte. As night came on the French 
tried to effect a general attack along the chaussee ; but 
this was repulsed, and the Brandenburgers l plunged 
through the heavy fire of the defenders, and without 
firing a shot took La Butte and Ardenay with a rush 
and a cheer. The French were thrown back into the 
valley of the Narais, losing many prisoners. 

On the right a detachment of one battalion, two 
squadrons, and two guns, accompanied the 6th Division. 
It drove before it franc-tireur bodies, but at La Belle 
Inutile met with more serious resistance. The post 
was, however, carried by the 24th Regiment, which 
made prize of a large ammunition and provision train, 
and took above 100 unwounded prisoners. Count zu 
Lynar moved into the village for its defence. 

The 5th Division met with no opposition, but the 
state of the roads caused extreme delay to its progress. 
It was not till the afternoon that its head reached the 
Narais at Gue de 1'Aune and took up quarters there 
and rearward to St. Mars de Locquenay. Its advanced 
guard went on, however, to La Buzardiere, thus form- 
ing the absolute head of the whole army. Parigne 
1'Eveque, on its left flank, was found to be held by the 

The IXth Corps followed the Illrd to Bouloire. 

Orders from head- quarters had not yet reached La 
Ferte when, at nine in the morning, the Grand Duke 
set the Xlllth Corps in motion on Connerre. Soon 
after midday the 1 7th Division came upon the French 
near Sceaux, and in a struggle wherein it slowly 
gained ground, drove them first out of the village 
precincts and then off the road. The French, who 

1 Brandenburg is the territorial province of the Illrd Army 
Corps. It was the nucleus of the Prussian monarchy, and the Hohen- 
zollerns were Margraves and then Electors of Brandenburg for 300 
years before they became Kings of Prussia. The Illrd is unquestion- 
ably the most distinguished Corps of the Prussian line. The late 
Prince Frederick Charles long commanded it. 


had retreated to Connerre" by a forced night march, 
lost above 500 prisoners in this small affair. But the 
short day was closing in, and the advanced guard 
halted at dusk at Duneau. A detachment going 
further forward found Connerre occupied by the 
French, and many watch-fires blazing in the valley 
of the Due. The main body of the infantry found 
quarters in and about Sceaux. 

Ranch's detachment, ordered to rejoin the Corps, 
took possession of Le Croset and of the bridge over the 
Due in front of that village, and also expelled the 
French from Thorigne. 

The French stayed in Connerre only till the evening ; 
then, leaving a company in occupation, they continued 
their retreat. This necessarily led from the left bank 
of the Huisne through the quarters taken up by the 
Illrd German Corps, which was disturbed all night by 
wandering detachments of the enemy, even at Nuille, 
where the Divisional headquarters lay. 

On the extreme right the 4th Cavalry Division occu- 
pied Belleme, after driving out the French battalion 
which had been in occupation there. 

Thus on this day the centre of the Ilnd Army had 
fought its way to within about nine miles of Le Mans ; 
while the two wings were still some distance behind. 
As it was probable that the French would accept battle 
in a prepared position behind the Huisne, it seemed 
advisable to await the arrival of the Xth and XHIth 
Corps ; but on the other hand, this would also give the 
enemy time to strengthen himself. Were an immediate 
attack determined on, the two Divisions which had 
been delayed respectively at Chateau Renault and Le 
Chartre, could scarcely reach Le Mans in time, and 
the rest of the army would be involved everywhere in 
a disadvantageous contest with the hostile bodies which 
were being driven back concentrically on that place. 
Prince Frederick Charles therefore ordered the Illrd 
Corps to push on through Ardenay ; the Xth was to 


advance to Parigne, and the XHIth on St. Mars la 
Bruyere, though these points could scarcely be reached 
from the positions actually occupied by the respective 
Corps this same evening (9th). 

As we have seen, the French army now assembled 
about Le Mans had been acting on the offensive on 
January 6th, when General Jouffroy had advanced on 
Vendome, and de Curten on St. Amand. But so early 
as the 7th the French found themselves reduced to the 
defensive along their whole front, some 50 miles in length. 
General Rousseau, on the left wing, had evacuated Nogent 
le Rotrou, and, without being pressed, began his re- 
treat by a night march to Connerre. In the centre, the 
trough of the Braye was wrested from General Jouffroy ; 
he quitted St. Calais, not rearward on Le Mans, but 
southward to join General Barry. On the right, General 
Curten had abandoned Chateau Renault, and set out, un- 
pursued, on the line through Chateau du Loir. To effect 
some concert in the operations of the three Divisions 
of his right wing, General Chanzy placed them under 
the superior orders of Admiral Jaureguiberry. He 
pushed forward the Division Paris on Ardenay by the 
high road General Jouffroy had uncovered, and on the 
left wing he reinforced General Rousseau by stationing 
three Divisions more on either side of his line of 
retreat. General Jouffroy was to retire to Parigne 
1'Eveque, and a Division was sent to meet him there 
and at Change. 

General de Curten succeeded on the 9th in checking 
the progress of the German left wing for some time 
about Chahaignes ; but the Division Paris was driven 
back through Ardenay, and General Rousseau, thus 
beset in Connerre, -evacuated that village the same 
evening. The two Divisions of the right wing were 
behind as far as Jupilles and Neuille Pont Pierre. 

Under these circumstances General Chanzy ordered 
that on the 10th the Division Jouffroy should fall back 
on Parigne' 1'Eveque, but that the Division Paris should 


once more move forward on Ardenay. He sent the 
remaining three Divisions of the XXIst Corps to meet 
General Rousseau, with instructions that he was to 
retake Connerre and Thorigne. 

The offensive movements thus planned by both sides 
developed into the fierce battle which, on the German 
side, was fought out single-handed by the Illrd 

(10th, llth, and 12th of January.) 

January 10th. The Fighting about Parigne and 
Change. Owing to the peculiar nature of the country, 
deep columns could not deploy without great loss of 
time. General von Alvensleben therefore advanced in 
the centre with the 9th and llth Infantry Brigades on 
Change* from Gue* de 1'Aune and Ardenay, moving 
on a broad front in comparatively small separate 
bodies. On the right the 12th marched by the high 
road to Le Mans ; on the left the 10th was to start from 
Volnay when Parigne' should be found abandoned by 
the French, and leaving that place on its left, was also 
to converge on Change. 

Parigne had, in fact, been deserted by the French, 
but had been reoccupied before daybreak by a brigade 
of the Division Deplanque ; and even before the German 
troops had started, the far-advanced outposts towards 
the forest of London were smartly attacked. The 
greater part of the 9th Brigade had to be deployed by 
degrees between Blinieres and the point of the forest, but 
only seven guns could be brought into action against the 
numerous French artillery. General von Stiilpnagel 
decided to reserve his strength for the struggle at 
Change, and to carry on merely a stationary fight 


here, which must be inevitably decided as soon as the 
10th Brigade should make its appearance on the left. 

That brigade, delayed by the badness of the roads, 
did not arrive by way of Challes till noon ; but it 
brought two batteries to reinforce the German artillery 
strength, which now vigorously prepared the infantry 
attack on the high-lying Parigne. Half an hour 
later the battalions rushed on the place with shouts 
of " Hurrah Brandenburg ! " taking a gun which the 
enemy had abandoned, and two mitrailleuses still in 
action. When the French returned to try to recover 
them they were again repulsed, and sacrificed another 
gun, two colours, and several waggons. After losing 
2150 prisoners they fled to the shelter of the forest of 
Ruaudin. General von Stiilpnagel left two battalions 
at Parigne to maintain observation in that quarter, and 
hurried on to Change in two columns. In front of this 
village, at about three o'clock, the llth Brigade met 
with a violent resistance at the Gue Perray brook from 
the other brigade of Deplanque's Division. The 2nd 
Battalion of the 35th Regiment lost nine officers and 
above 100 men in a severe struggle at Les Gars. The 
General in command, who was on the spot, dislodged 
both flanks of the enemy from his strong position, and 
on the left two companies succeeded in crossing the 
stream at La Goudriere. 

These at four o'clock now fell in with the advanced 
guard of the 9th Brigade, which Colonel Count von der 
Groeben was bringing up from Parigne, having taken 
possession of the Chateau of Girardrie on the way. 
When the companies of the llth Brigade sent to the 
right reached Auvigne simultaneously, the " General 
Advance" was sounded. Auvigne was stormed, the 
bridge north of Gue la Hart was crossed, and that 
village carried after a hard fight. Over 1000 prisoners 
more were taken from the flying French. 

It was already dark, but Change, the goal of the 
struggle, was not yet reached. But when a barricade 


outside the village had been won it was found that the 
10th Brigade was already in possession. This brigade, 
on its way along the high road from Parigne, had met 
with resistance at the Chateaux Chef Raison and Paillerie. 
Having only two guns, it failed to silence the French 
artillery, but General von Stiilpnagel left there only 
a battalion in observation, and hurried forward with 
part of the brigade to reinforce the fight at Gue la 
Hart ; the other portion was directed against Change. 
Here the French had already been for the most part 
dismissed to quarters, but they soon assembled and made 
a prompt and determined resistance. There ensued an 
embittered street-fight, which ended in about an hour's 
time in the surrender of the whole garrison of 800 men, 
who had been crowded together into the market-place. 

The 12th Brigade had at last left Ardenay at eleven 
o'clock ; it advanced along the high road without op- 
position as far as St. Hubert, where an abandoned 
commissariat train was seized. Having there aligned 
itself with the rest of the Corps it halted for a while, 
but after one o'clock was fired upon by French artillery ; 
and the enemy again advancing along the highway, 
General von Buddenbrock l on his part passed to the 
attack, and drove back the enemy out of Champagne, 
in part across the Huisne, and in part to the heights 
behind the village. Two guns successfully dealt with 
the fire of the French artillery near Lune d'Auvours, 
and then the infantry expelled the French from that 
shelter also. 

Further to the right a German battalion had taken 
St. Mars la Bruyere after a slight skirmish, and was 
subsequently joined there by General Count zu Lynar's 

Fighting thus with equal skill and success the Illrd 
Corps had indeed already lost 450 men ; but it had 
brought in more than 5000 prisoners, and had won 
many trophies of which it had a right to be proud. 
1 Commanding 6th Division, Illrd Corps. 


The Xth Corps had started this day from Vance and 
Brives, and unobstructed indeed by the enemy, but 
along very heavy roads, reached Grand Luce at two 
o'clock. Here it took up quarters. 

The IX th Corps remained at Nuille. 

Of the XHIth Corps the 17th Division had continued 
its advance along the left bank of the Huisne, and found 
Connerre already deserted by the French. But on the 
further side of the river the heights of Cohernieres, the 
railway station, and the wood to the north, were occu- 
pied by the 2nd Division of the French XXIst Corps. 
General von Rauch led two battalions to the attack 
from the south, in which shared the 22nd Division from 
the east, having crossed the Huisne at Sceaux and taken 
the direction of Beille by the right bank. A stubborn 
resistance was encountered, and the fight swayed to and 
fro till darkness fell. The Chateau of Couleon, indeed, 
and several villages at the foot of the wooded heights 
were taken, but the French maintained their hold on 
the heights and their position at Cohernieres. 

The 17th Division had meanwhile continued its ad- 
vance along roads frozen as smooth as glass, and reached 
La Belle Inutile ; the 22nd passed the night at Beille. 

This division had in the morning sent a detachment 
sideward to Bonnetable, whither the 4th Cavalry 
Division now proceeded. The 12th Cavalry Brigade 
followed to Belleme. Colonel von Beckedorif then 
continued his advance to Chanteloup, whence he drove 
out the French in spite of an obstinate defence. 

General Chanzy had determined to risk a decisive 
battle in front of Le Mans. Curten's Division had not 
yet reached him, and only a part of Barry's had come up, 
but on the other hand the army from the camp of 
Conlie, in strength some 10,000 men, had arrived. The 
right wing of the French position rested its flank on the 
Sarthe near Arnaye l ; it extended for more than four 

1 " Arnage " on the map and in the Staff History. 


miles along the Chemin aux Boeufs, and continued in a 
slight curve leftward to the Huisne. Barry's Division, 
already weakened by previous reverses, and General 
Lalande's National Guards undisciplined and badly 
armed troops were posted on the extreme right which 
was the least threatened. Deplanque's and Roque- 
brune's Divisions, Desmaison's Brigade and Jouffroy's 
Division, held the centre and left, the last body in the first 
instance opposite to General von Alvensleben. Behind 
this line Bouedec's Division and Colonel Marty's detach- 
ment constituted a reserve. In all from 50,000 to 60,000 
men under the command of Admiral Jaureguiberry, 
with full ranks and well commanded, crowded the 
entrenched front of the most important section of the 
line that between the two rivers (Sarthe and Huisne). 
Five Divisions more, under the command of General 
de Colomb, lined the right bank of the Huisne for a 
distance of about eight and a half miles, the Divi- 
sion Paris was at Yvre' ; Gougeard's Division, also 
holding the heights of Auvours on the hither side, was 
northward of Champagne ; then came Rousseau's Divi- 
sion at Montfort and Pont de Gesnes, and finally, Collin's 
Division in hook-formation about Lombron. Besides 
these Villeneuve's Division, quite on the flank, fronted 
toward Chanteloup. 

January llth. On this day the Illrd German 
Army Corps was directly opposed to the main body 
of the French forces. It could not for the pre- 
sent hope for any assistance from the corps of the 
flanks, and had before it the certainty of an arduous 

On the left, the Xth Corps was still this morning at 
Grand Luce, and on the right the XHIth Corps had 
been detained on the previous day by the obstinate 
resistance of the French, who had held their own 
between Les Cohemieres and La Chapelle, and occupied 
Le Chene in their front. 

The troops of the 22nd Division had necessarily lost 


their formations and become mixed up in the course of 
the struggle in the wood, and it was not till they 
had been re-formed and the enemy's position had been 
reconnoitred by both the Divisional Commanders that 
the attack was renewed at about eleven o'clock. 

Two battalions of the 17th Division and one battery 
were left in observation in front of Pont de Gesnes, 
on the southern bank of the Huisne ; on the northern 
side, the Mecklenburg battalions stormed Cohernieres 
in the afternoon after a sharp contest, and in con- 
junction with the Hessians forced their way westward 
up to the Gue and on towards Lombron about four 

Further to the right two companies of the 90th 
Regiment (22nd Division) meanwhile took Le Chene 
by a closed attack on the obstinate defenders ; the 
83rd Regiment, after a sharp fire fight, stormed the 
farmsteads of Flouret and La Grande Metairie. Colonel 
von Beckedorff, on being relieved at Chanteloup by the 
4th Cavalry Division, had driven the French out of St. 
Celerin, and he then advanced to La Chapelle-St. Remy 
on the right of the Division, which occupied wide 
quarters behind the points it had seized. 

The Mecklenburg Grenadiers had held their own for 
a long time at Le Gue and La Brosse against superior 
numbers attacking from Pont de Gesnes ; but the 
main body of the 17th Division was retired in the 
evening further back to Connerre. 

The more completely that General von Alvensleben 
had to rely solely on his own command, the more essen- 
tial it was to keep the troops composing it closely con- 
centrated. But a strong force of the enemy was now 
on his flank, almost indeed in his rear, on the heights of 
Auvours, where it was only kept at bay by his 12th 
Brigade, which therefore for the present was not free 
to advance. 

And here it was that the battle first really began. 
The French had repossessed themselves of Champagne, 



and had deployed artillery on the heights behind 
it. When their fire had been subdued by four guns 
of the brigade, two battalions advanced to an attack 
on the village. It was not till after an obstinate 
street-fight, that the enemy at eleven o'clock was 
driven back to the heights, and the bridge over the 
Huisne carried. General von Buddenbrock now let 
the two battalions remain in observation, sent a third 
to Lune d'Auvours, and at noon started with the rest 
of the brigade to rejoin the Corps. 

Meanwhile the conflict had been raging with such fury 
all along the front of the latter that at twelve o'clock 
Prince Frederick Charles sent orders from St. Hubert to 
General Voigts-Rhetz, to hurry forward by the shortest 
roads to the battle-field with the Xth Corps ; and at 
the same time General von Manstein was instructed 
to seize the heights of Auvours with the IXth. 

It was already one o'clock when the advanced guard 
of the IXth climbed up the hollow way, deep in snow, 
followed by two battalions of the 12th Brigade, and 
by two batteries straining every nerve. The infantry 
plunged forward through the wood, strongly held as it 
was by the enemy, straight on Villiers ; the skirmishers 
of the Fusilier battalion of the llth Regiment seized 
three mitrailleuses in action, and when the French had 
abandoned the village, turned them against the wood. 

Further to the left, at about three o'clock, two 
battalions of the 85th Regiment from the main body 
of the 18th Division, were directed on the western 
end of the ridge, supported by the Jiigers and two 
batteries which were brought up near Les Hetres. To 
cover them two companies moved on La Lune, and 
baulked for the moment the hostile rush along the high 
road. But against these movements the French opened 
a heavy fire from their commanding batteries behind 
Yvre". Regardless thereof the Holsteiners 1 on the 

1 The " Holsteiners " mentioned in the text were two battalions 


left charged on a hostile battery and seized three of its 
guns. On the right they took possession of the neigh- 
bouring farmsteads ; and soon after five the French 
abandoned the whole plateau as far as its western 

Over it, however, a strong counter-attack was 
delivered in the evening, when part of Gougeard's 
Division charged up the slope from Yvre. Its further 
advance was arrested ; but the French could not be 
prevented from remaining there during the evening 
and night. Nevertheless, this offensive struggle on the 
part of the 18th Division had relieved the pressure on 
the rear and flank of the Illrd Corps. . It received 
the further order in the evening to secure the 
passage over the Huisne for use next day. Three 
battalions and one battery immediately crossed over to 
the northern bank and drove from the bridge the hostile 
detachments in its vicinity. The Division lost 275 

General von Alvensleben had delayed the advance 
of the Illrd Corps till eleven o'clock, in anticipation of 
the arrival of the 12th Brigade. 

During the night (10- llth) the French had com- 
pleted their entrenchments on the skirts of the wood and 
had taken up their position there ; they also lined the 
heights on the further side of the river with numerous 
batteries. Thus a frontal attack must involve heavy 
loss, and it was impossible to out- flank lines so ex- 
tensive. General von Alvensleben therefore decided 
on advancing at first only against the enemy's left 
wing, and assigned to that task the llth Brigade. 
The 10th and 9th remained in reserve for the present 
about Change and Gue la Hart. The 12th, released at 
Mont-Auvours, was indeed marching up, but on 

of the 85th Kegiment, which belonged to the 36th Brigade, 18th 
Division, IXth Army Corps, whose territorial region consists of 
Sleswig-Holstein, the Hanse towns, Mecklenburg, &c. 

u 2 


circuitous ways, because the high road was every- 
where entirely commanded by the batteries on the 

The llth Brigade, scarcely 3000 strong, followed 
the course of the Gue" Perray streamlet up to the 
northern end of the wood. To protect it against 
the French columns threatening it from the heights, 
the 35th Regiment had to form front to wards the brook 
and also occupied the Chateau of Les Arches. The 
20th Regiment tried to get forward by the cattle-path, 
and while holding firmly the Chateau of Les Noyers 
and the bridge there over the Huisnes, drove back 
the enemy by sheer hard fighting to Les Granges. 
But he presently returned so considerably rein- 
forced that the whole brigade had to be gradually 
brought up into the fighting line. Les Granges 
was lost and retaken several times with heavy loss, 
particularly of officers ; but the Brandenburgers 
fought on staunchly. 

On the left of the llth the 10th Brigade now made 
its appearance, coming up from Chang at one o'clock. 
After an hour-long bloody struggle the 52nd Regiment 
made itself master of the farm of Le Pavilion, of the 
wooded slope in front, and the farm of Grand Anneau. 
Strong columns advancing from Pontlieue were driven 
back, two batteries dashed up into the Chassepot fire 
to within 800 paces of Le Tertre ; yet the 12th Regi- 
ment did not succeed in getting into the farmstead till 
two battalions of the 9th Brigade from Change" had 
come up to its assistance. The farmstead whose posses- 
sion was so obstinately disputed was taken by storm at 
about five o'clock, with the co-operation of the Grena- 
diers of the 8th Life-Regiment. 

The 52nd Regiment, having expended all its ammu- 
nition, had to retire, but the Grenadier battalions pushed 
further forward on the cattle-path, where two French 
guns in action were captured after a bloody melee ; 
and the enemy's repeated attempts to recover them 


were steadily frustrated. A hostile battery which had 
been brought up westward of the wood was driven 
back by quick fire. 

As the 35th Regiment had to be brought forward 
from the Gue Perray brook to support the 20th, the 
French had recovered possession of Les Arches. The 
12th Brigade, only three battalions strong, arrived there 
from Auvours at two o'clock. The 64th Regiment 
recaptured the chateau after a short fight. The over- 
whelming artillery and musketry fire from the heights 
on the further side of the river prevented the German 
artillery from coming into action, and it was only with 
great difficulty and a heavy sacrifice of gunners that 
the pieces were brought away again ; but every attack 
on the chateau by the French from Yvre was steadily 

It was now quite dark, and only the fire of the 
cannon still lasted. The Illrd Corps had taken 600 
prisoners, but had also lost 500 men. It had fought its 
way into the heart of the French position, and its out- 
posts were in the closest proximity to the enemy's 
front. And now strong, though late, reinforcements 

The Xth Corps had marched from Grand Luce to 
the westward in the morning, to gain the high road 
from Tours to Le Mans, but slippery roads again 
delayed its march, so that it only reached Teloche in 
the afternoon. 

The cannon thunder heard to the northward left no 
doubt that General von Alvensleben was engaged in 
arduous fighting. The orders sent at noon from the 
Army Headquarter in St. Hubert sped to General 
Voigts-Rhetz ; but that officer rightly judged that his 
appearance would now have a more telling effect on the 
enemy's flank than on the field where the Illrd Corps 
was engaged. So in spite of the exhausted state of his 
men, who had had no opportunity to cook on the 
way, he at once pushed forward without halting. 


To protect himself against Curten's Division on 
the watch for him from Chateau du Loir, he de- 
spatched a battalion to Ecommoy. It was received 
with firing from the houses, surrounded on all sides in 
the darkness, and compelled to withdraw from the 
place ; but it then kept the road clear in the rear of 
the corps. 

The head of the 20th Division found Mulsanne but 
feebly defended, and drove the detachment back beyond 
the cutting of La Monnerie. 

The nature of the country which here had to be 
traversed greatly favoured the enemy. Ditches and 
fences aiforded his marksmen complete cover, farm- 
steads and copses furnished excellent defensive positions. 
Only eight guns could at first be brought to bear against 
the enemy's artillery ; but nevertheless four Westphalian 
and Brunswick l battalions steadily repelled the French, 
and by night-fall reached Point du Jour. The fight 
first became stationary on the cattle-path in front of 
Les Mortes Aures. Here the French swept the whole 
foreground with a continuous rolling fire from tiers of 
shelter-trenches rising one above the other. 

The fight swayed to and fro for a long time, but 
finally the German left gained ground. The 1st 
Battalion of the 17th Regiment rushed on the enemy, 
who delivered his fire at point blank range and then 
made for the wood. And when now the 1st Battalion of 
the 56th Regiment advanced from Point du Jour, its 
drums beating the charge, the French carried away 
their mitrailleuses and evacuated Les Mortes Aures. 

This battalion had received orders from the Com- 
manding General to settle the business with the 
bayonet. Captain von Monbart led it on locked up close 
at the charging pace ; all the detachments at hand 
joined it, and in spite of a heavy fire from the wood 

1 The 17th and 92nd Regiments comprising the 46th Brigade 
commanded by General von Diringshofen. 


La Tuilerie was reached by half-past eight ; and here 
the 40th Brigade deployed, while the 37th stood ready 
to support it in front of Mulsanne. The enemy drifted 
away in the darkness. The constant roll of wheels, the 
noise of departing railway trains and the confusion of 
cries indicated a retreat. Yet the prisoners who were 
constantly being brought in, with one accord v reported 
that a strong force was still encamped in the forest. 
Numerous watch-fires blazed there through the night, 
and instead of resting, it seemed evident that the 
hostile troops were preparing to engage in fresh 
attempts. At half-past ten the outposts reported the 
approach of a strong force from Pontlieue. 

Hitherto it had been only the little-to-be-relied-on 
National Guards under General Lalande at this point 
with whom the German troops in this quarter of the 
field had had to deal; but the Admiral now sent 
Bouedec's Division against La Tuilerie, and ordered 
General Roquebrune to support his advance. 

For a full hour the Prussian battalions in first line 
were scourged with rifle fire in front and flank, and 
pelted by a hail-storm of projectiles, but no serious 
attack occurred. 

According to French reports, the officers strove in 
vain to bring forward their troops ; but the latter con- 
stantly hung back. A later assault made by Gardes- 
Mobiles was equally fruitless. 

But still there was to be no rest. At two in the 
morning the din of fighting again made itself heard on 
the right. Deplanque's Division had been disturbed by 
a flank detachment of the 40th Brigade. This body was 
advancing by the road from Euaudin to Pontlieue, to be 
at hand in case of need ; without returning the enemy's 
fire, it had driven out the holders of Epinettes, and had 
established itself there close to the cattle-path. 

January 12th. For the impending struggle of the 
following day only the Illrd and Xth Corps could be 
counted on. The other two Corps could only co- 


operate indirectly by holding engaged a part of the 
hostile forces. 

Of the Xlllth Corps the 17th Division was to ad- 
vance by Lombron to St. Corneille, without com- 
mitting itself to a contest with the enemy still holding 
the bank of the Huisne ; the 22nd was ordered from 
La Chapelle to Savigne. The Gue brook was to be 
lightly held, and part of the artillery was to remain at 
Connerre' with the 7th Brigade of Cavalry. 

On advancing it was found that the enemy had 
already abandoned Lombron, Pont de Gesnes, and 
Montfort. Arms and equipments thrown away be- 
trayed how hurried had been the flight. Many strag- 
glers were brought in prisoners, and it was not till 
reaching the Merdereau brook at noon, that the 17th 
Division met with opposition. The CMteau of Hyre 
and St. Corneille were won about four o'clock by 
an enveloping attack, and 500 French were taken 
prisoners. The enemy was then driven back behind 
the Parance brook, where the advanced guard halted 
at dusk. 

Colonel von Beckedorffs detachment of the 22nd 
Division marched through Chanteloup from Sille, 
throwing back the enemy on La Croix, where a large 
body of hostile troops made a stand. But when, after 
a long halt, the main body of the Division came up, it 
at once passed to the attack. Entire formed bodies of 
French here laid down their arms, and 3000 men 
with many officers became prisoners. 

An attempt of the cavalry to advance across the 
Sarthe to break up the railway on the further side of 
the river was, however, unsuccessful. 

The whole force occupying the heights of Auvours 
surrendered to the IXth Corps. The 35th Brigade 
marched up to Villiers, but patrols sent ahead soon 
reported that the French had retired across the Huisne. 
When the noise of fighting was heard at mid- 
day from St. Corneille, the brigade in question was 


ordered to proceed northward to support the 17th 
Division engaged there. The 84th Regiment, passing 
through La Commune, lent efficient assistance in 
the attack on Chateau Hyre. Outposts were left on 
the Parance for the night, but the main body of 
the 35th Brigade returned to Fatines, and the 36th 
took up quarters between Villiers and St. Mars la 

By the battle of the previous day the position of 
the French before Le Mans had been forced ; but they 
still stood firm behind the Huisnes, and as their left 
wing had been driven in on their centre, the latter sec- 
tion had been considerably strengthened. There still 
remained the stream to be crossed, and the steep slope 
to be climbed, where every row of the vineyards in 
terraced ascent was held by strong firing lines, and the 
crest of which was crowned with batteries. The passage 
of the Huisnes near Ivre, on the left, was covered by 
entrenchments with special carefulness, and the ground 
in front of the wood of Pontlieue had been made im- 
passable in many places by abatis. Against such a 
position the artillery could be of little and the cavalry 
of no service, while deep snow hampered every move- 
ment of the infantry. General von Alvensleben there- 
fore decided on standing for the present on the defen- 
sive with his right wing, while he prepared to support 
the advance of General von Voigts-Rhe tz with his left. 

The troops were roused from their short rest at 
six in the morning. Two French companies made 
their way towards the bridge at Chateau Les Noyers 
with powder-bags, but they were compelled to re- 
treat, leaving the explosives behind them. At eight 
o'clock the French made a determined attack on the 
outposts of the 12th Regiment in the wood, and drove 
them in on Le Tertre. Again a combat raged furiously 
about this farmstead, which was almost demolished by 
shell fire. One by one the last battalions of the 10th 
Brigade were drawn into the struggle, to replace 


bodies which, their ammunition exhausted, had to 
retire. Only four guns could be used with effect, but 
by eleven o'clock the enemy's fire gradually died away, 
and he was seen to retire on Pontlieue. The battalions 
of the left wing pursued, and came out on the Parigne 
road in immediate touch with the Xth Corps. 

General von Voigts-Rhetz had left two battalions at 
Mulsanne, for his protection from the direction of Ecom- 
moy ; the whole Corps, after many detachments had been 
unavoidably detailed from it, was assembled by about 
half-past seven for a further advance on Pontlieue. 
The main body of the 20th Division closed up by the 
Mulsanne road on La Tuilerie. Three battalions of 
the 19th Division massed at Ruaudin to strengthen 
the side-ward detachments in Epinettes, while two 
battalions with the 14th Cavalry Brigade and the 
Corps' artillery, which could find no opening in the 
region further to the left, moved up by the roads from 

The reinforcement meanwhile arrived from Ruaudin, 
and General von Woyna made his way without hin- 
drance through the forest to La Source, where he 
halted at one o'clock, his front parallel with that of the 
20th Division. A heavy battery of the latter had 
already driven away the French mitrailleuses in front 
of Pontlieue. On the right a light battery of the 19th 
Division was brought up to La Source, and ten horse- 
artillery guns on to the road from Parigne. The 
atmosphere was, however, so thick that their fire 
could only be directed by the map. 

At two o'clock General von Kraatz advanced in close 
column on Pontlieue, whither General von Woyna was 
now also marching, The southern part of the village 
was taken after a slight resistance ; but on the further 
side of the Huisne the French held the houses along 
the river-bank, and just as the Germans approached 
the bridge it was blown up. The demolition, however, 
was not complete, and the foremost battalions got across 


over the debris to reach the enemy. Two made their 
way into the high street of Pontlieue, one turned left to 
the railway station, whence were heard signals for de- 
parting trains. Nothing interposed to hinder the rail- 
way bridge here from being blown up, and thus many 
prisoners were taken, besides .150 provision waggons 
and 1000 hundred-weight of flour. 

The artillery fire was immediately directed on the 
town of Le Mans. 

Meanwhile the detachments of the Illrd Corps, which 
had become mixed up in the forest fight, had re-formed. 
After a ration of meat, the first for three days, had 
been served out to the troops, the 10th Brigade re- 
sumed its march. The Brandenburg Jiiger Battalion 
crossed the river by the paper-mill of L'Epau, and two 
batteries strengthened from Chateau Funay the artillery 
fire directed on Le Mans. 

When presently the infantry entered the town, a 
fierce struggle began in the streets, which were entirely 
blocked by the French trains. Entrance into individual 
houses had to be cleared by artillery fire ; a large 
number of French were taken prisoners, and a vast 
quantity of waggons were seized. The fighting lasted 
till nightfall, and then the Xth Corps and half of the 
Illrd took up alarm quarters in the town. The 6th 
Division took possession of Yvre, which the enemy 
had abandoned, and threw out foreposts to Les Noyers 
and Les Arches on the further side of the Huisne. 

The actions fought by the French on this day, had 
been engaged in for the sole purpose of gaining time 
for the extrication of the army. 

On learning from Admiral Jaureguiberry that every 
effort to get the troops to advance had failed, and that 
the last reserves were shattered, General Chanzy had 
at eight in the morning issued orders for a general 
retreat on Alen9on, where the Minister of War had 
arranged for the arrival of two Divisions of the XlXth 
Corps from Carentan. 


The advance of the Ilnd Army to Le Mans had 
been a series of seven days' incessant fighting. It was 
made at a season when the winter was in extremest 
severity. Ice and snow-drifts had rendered every 
movement one long struggle. Bivouacking was out of 
the question ; and the troops had to seek their night 
shelter often at a distance of some miles in rear ; their 
reassembling in the morning cost precious hours, and 
the shortness of the day then prevented their taking 
full advantage of their successes. Whole battalions were 
employed in guarding the prisoners. The roads were 
in such a state that the trains of the army could not 
be brought up ; officers and men alike marched in- 
sufficiently clothed and on scanty rations. But zeal, 
endurance, and discipline conquered every difficulty. 

The army had sacrificed in this prolonged struggle 
3200 men and 200 officers, the larger half belonging to 
the Illrd Corps alone. Many companies fought under 
the command of non-commissioned officers. 

The French estimated their losses at 6200 men, and 
20,000 taken prisoners ; seventeen guns, two colours, 
and an abundant supply of materiel remained as 
trophies in the hands of the victors. 

After exertions so severe the troops imperatively 
needed some rest. The instructions from the supreme 
Headquarter were that the operations were not to be 
extended beyond a certain limit ; and it was possible 
that the services of the Ilnd Army might almost imme- 
diately be required on the Seine and the Loire. Prince 
Frederick Charles therefore determined to follow up 
the retreating enemy with only a small force. 

On the French side, that each Corps might have a 
separate road for the retreat to Alenyon, two Corps had 
necessarily to draw out westward in the first instance. 
On the evening of the last day's fight the XVIth Corps 
reached Chauffeur on the Laval road, and the XVIIth 
Conlie on the road to Mayenne, each covered by 
its rear-guard. The XXIst was assembled at Ballon, 


on the left bank of the Sarthe. From these points all 
were to march in a northerly direction. General 
Chanzy still deluded himself with the hope of coming 
up by Evreux to the assistance of the besieged capital. 
He would have had thus to make a wide circuit an 
arc by moving on the chord of which the Germans could 
easily have anticipated him ; and in a country where all 
arms were available, his army, in the condition to which 
it was now reduced, must have inevitably been de- 
stroyed. Ultimately the defeated French army retired 
in the direction to the westward of the Sarthe. 

After the distribution of rations and forage, General 
von Schmidt set forth at mid-day on the 13th with four 
battalions, eleven squadrons, and ten guns, and reached 
Chauffour after some skirmishing. The XHIth Corps 
advanced to the Sarthe, the 17th Division sending its 
outposts across the river at Neuville, and the 22nd 
drove the French out of Ballon, whence they retired in 
full flight to Beaumont. The XXIst French Corps had 
taken up quarters this day at Sille. The National 
Guards of Brittany fled wildly to Coron, and thence 
made homeward toward their own province. They 
were joined by the troops left in camp at Conlie, after 
the camp there had been plundered. The XVIIth 
Corps also went off, without halting by the Vegre as 
it had been ordered to do, but retreating direct on Ste. 
Suzanne. The XVIth withdrew on Laval, leaving 
Barry's Division at Chassille as rear-guard. Numbers 
of abandoned waggons and cast-away arms, everywhere 
testified to the demoralization of the defeated forces. 

On the 14th the French were driven out of Chassille. 
The XVIth Corps had by this time almost entirely lost 
its organization ; it retired during the night to St. Jean 
sur Erve. In the camp at Conlie were found 8000 
stands of arms and 5,000,000 cartridges, as well as 
various other war materiel. 

The Grand Duke had marched on Alencon along the 
right bank of the Sarthe. The French in Beaumont 


made a feeble resistance to the advanced guard of the 
22nd Division, and lost 1400 prisoners. 

On the following day General von Schmidt advanced 
further on the road to Laval, but found that the 
French had concentrated at St. Jean and posted a 
strong force of artillery on the heights behind the 
Erve. The Oldenburg Regiment l forced its way as far 
as the church of the little town, and the Brunswickers 
drove the enemy back on Ste. Suzanne, higher up the 
river, but there the pursuit ended. 

Barry's and Deplanque's Divisions, according to the 
French estimate, had now no more than 6000 fighting 
men, and Curten's Division had still not yet come up, 
but this strength was considerably superior to that of 
the weak German detachment confronting it. The rest 
of the Xth Corps was moving up in support, but had 
as yet only reached Chasille. A battalion advancing 
from Conlie came into conflict at Sille with the XXIst 
French Corps assembled there, and sustained heavy loss. 
The 22nd Division of the Xlllth Corps also met with 
serious opposition before reaching Alen^on, from the 
National Guards and the volunteers under Lipowski ; 
and the attack on the town was postponed till next 

But on the following morning the French positions 
in Alencon as well as in Sille and St. Jean were aban- 
doned. Those places were at once occupied by the Ger- 
mans, and General von Schmidt marched forward, 
close up to Laval. Numerous stragglers from the 
retreating army were taken prisoners. 

1 The 91st Regiment, 37th Brigade, 10th Army Corps, whose 
recruiting ground is Hanover, Oldenburg, and Brunswick. The 
Hanoverian Corps consists mainly of the regiments of the old 
Hanoverian army of the kingdom long ruled by British sovereigns ; 
an army whose valour, proved side by side with British troops on 
countless battle-fields from Minden and Dettingen to the Peninsula 
and Waterloo, culminated in its final battle on the glorious but luck- 
less field of Langensalza. 


Behind the Mayenne, whither now Curten's Divi- 
sion had arrived, the remnants of the Ilnd Army of 
the Loire re-assembled. Reduced to half its original 
strength, and its morale gravely shaken, it could 
but be unfit for service for a long time to come, and 
the object of the German advance on Le Mans was 
fully attained. 

To the north of Paris, however, the French were 
meanwhile threatening a renewed offensive. It was 
necessary to draw in on the Somme the portions of the 
1st Army which were still on the Lower Seine ; and 
orders came from the supreme Head-quarter that 
the Xlllth Corps of the Ilnd Army should march on 

On the Upper Loire also French detachments had 
advanced against the Hessian posts about Briare, and 
had driven them back, on the 14th, to Ouzouer ; while 
from the Sologne came a report of the advance of a 
newly-formed French Army Corps the XXVth. 

The German IXth Corps, after evacuating and 
destroying the camp at Conlie, was therefore sent to 
Orleans in support. The remainder of the Ilnd Army, 
the Illrd and Xth Corps with the three cavalry divi- 
sions in a strength of about 27,000 foot, 9000 horse, and 
186 guns was assembled by Prince Frederick Charles 
round Le Mans. The cavalry in observation on the 
front and flanks had several small skirmishes, but no 
further serious hostilities were attempted. 

The 4th Cavalry Division held Alen9on on the right, 
and on the left General von Hartmann entered Tours 
without any opposition. 


At the beginning of the New Year a considerable 
part of the 1st German Army was engaged in besieging 


Pe"ronne, which had afforded a safe crossing-point for 
the debouche of the French on the southern bank of 
the Somme. General Bamekow held the little place 
invested with the 3rd Reserve Division and the 31st 
Infantry Brigade. Previously it had only been kept 
under observation by cavalry, but circumstances had 
temporarily given it importance. What of the VHIth 
Corps formerly on the Somme was available formed a 
wide curve from Amiens northward as far as Bapaume, 
to cover the siege. 

The 1st Corps, posted at Rouen for the time, con- 
sisted only of three brigades ; but the 4th was on the 
march thither from before Peronne, where it had been 
relieved. No reinforcement of the 1st Army had been 
effected. The 14th Divison, after reducing Mezieres 
and, soon after, Rocroy, had received fresh orders from 
Versailles which transferred it to another part of the 
theatre of war. 

General Faidherbe had concentrated his troops behind 
the Scarpe, from their resting quarters south of Arras, 
and had begun his forward march on January 2nd. 
He advanced with the XXIInd Corps to the relief of 
Peronne by way of Bucquoy. The XXIIIrd followed 
by the high road to Bapaume. About half-past ten 
Derroja's Division of the former Corps obliged the 3rd 
Cavalry Division, as well as those battalions of the 32nd 
Brigade which had been attached to it, to fall back on 
Miraumont, followed, however, only as far as Achiet 
le Petit. 

The other Division, under General Bessol, did not 
advance towards Achiet le Grand till the afternoon. 
There it was opposed for several hours by two com- 
panies of the 68th, a sub-division of Hussars, and two 
guns, which only retired in the evening on Avesnes. 
The French did not follow up the detachment, but 
threw out outposts about Bihucourt. 

Payen's Division deployed on the high road at Behag- 
nies, and its batteries opened fire on Sapignies, where, 


however, General von Strubberg had posted five bat- 
talions. These repulsed the attack, and at two o'clock 
entered Behagnies with a rush, took 240 prisoners, 
and prepared the village for defence. The enemy with- 
drew to Ervillers, and there once again drew out, but 
attempted no further attack. 

The other Division of the French XXIIIrd Corps, 
consisting of mobilized National Guards under General 
Robin, moved forward on the left on Mory. There were 
only one battalion and a squadron of Hussars to oppose 
it. By extending their line on the heights of Beug- 
mitre, the German detachment succeeded in deceiving 
the enemy in regard to its weakness. The latter 
marched and counter-marched, and also brought up 
artillery, but did not attempt an attack, and remained 
at Mory. 

The 30th German Brigade and the 3rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion assembled for the night in and about Bapaume. 
The 29th Brigade occupied the neighbouring villages on 
the right and the left of the Arras road. 

BATTLE OF BAPAUME. January 3rd. General Faid- 
herbe had brought his forces close up to the position 
which covered the investment of Peronne. His four 
Divisions consisted of fifty-seven battalions, which were 
opposed by only seventeen German battalions. He 
decided on the 3rd to push on in four columns to 
Grevillers and Biefvillers, on the high road, and to 
Favreuil on the east. 

But General von Goeben was not inclined to give up 
his position at Bapaume. Under cover of a force in oc- 
cupation of Favreuil, General von Kummer in the morn- 
ing assembled the 30th Brigade in front of Bapaume, and 
behind it the 29th, of which, however, three battalions 
were left in the villages to left and to right. A 
reserve was established further to the rear at Tronsloy, 
whither the 8th Rifle Battalion, with two batteries, was 
detached ; and General von Barnekow received orders to 



hold three battalions and the 2nd Foot Detachment in 
readiness at Sailly Saillisel, without raising the blockade. 
Finally the detachment under Prince Albrecht, jun. 
three battalions, eight squadrons, and three batteries- 
advanced on Bertincourt, near to the subsequent battle- 
field. In this disposition, in bitterly cold and sullen 
weather, the attack of the French was awaited. 

General Count von der Groeben had already sent the 
7th Cavalry Brigade against the enemy's right flank, 
but it did not succeed in forcing its way through the 
villages occupied by the hostile infantry. 

On the right wing the Division Robin was at Beug- 
natre met by so sharp a fire from two battalions of the 
65th Regiment and two horse batteries which had joined 
them from Transloy, that it withdrew again on Mory. 
The garrison of Favreuil was reinforced by two battalions 
and two batteries against the approach of the Divi- 
sion Payen, which was marching by the high road to the 
eastward of that place. The first French gun moving 
out from Sapignies was immediately destroyed, but 
several batteries soon became engaged on both sides, 
and the French forced their way into Favreuil and 
St. Aubin. 

The 40th Regiment advanced on these places at noon 
from Bertincourt, and after a lively action re-occupied 
them ; but had to evacuate Favreuil again, and took up 
a position alongside of the 2nd Guard Uhlan regiment 
and a horse battery sideward of Fremicourt, which 
secured the right flank of the Division. 

On the left, the Division Bessol had driven the weak 
garrison out of Biefvillers. The 1st Battalion of the 
33rd Regiment, which moved forward to retake that 
place, became hotly engaged ; it lost all but three of 
its officers, and had to retire upon Avesnes. The Divi- 
sion Derroja also took part in this fight. The French 
now brought up a strong force of artillery, and extended 
their firing-line to the south nearly as far as the road 
to Albert. 


Therefore, at mid-day, General von Kummer decided 
to confine himself to the local defence of Bapaume. At 
the cost of serious loss, the artillery covered the draw- 
ing in thither of the infantry. The 1st Heavy Battery, 
which was the last to withdraw, lost 2 officers, 17 men, 
and 36 horses ; its guns could only be brought out of 
action with the help of the infantry. 

In Bapaume the 29th Brigade now prepared for an 
obstinate defence of the old city wall, and the 30th 
assembled behind the place. The French advanced 
leisurely as far as the suburb. Then ensued a long pause 
in the fighting. General Faidherbe hoped to take the 
town by further encompassing it, without exposing it 
to a bombardment followed by a storm. A brigade of 
the Division Derroja endeavoured to advance through 
Tilloy, but met there with stubborn resistance from 
the Rifle Battalion and two batteries which had come up 
from Peronne. At the same time twenty-four guns of 
the batteries which had retired behind Bapaume opened 
fire on the advancing columns, which then withdrew, at 
half-past three, across the road to Albert. They soon 
resumed the attack, and succeeded in entering Tilloy. 
All the neighbouring batteries now opened fire upon this 
village. General von Mirus, who on the advance of the 
3rd Cavalry Division had been left behind in Miraumont, 
saw no enemy in his front there, but heard the fight- 
ing at Bapaume, and advanced from the west, as did 
General von Strubberg from the town, to renew the 
attack. The French did not await their arrival, and 
were driven back out of the suburb and also Avesnes. 
The French Divisions spent the night at Grevillers, 
Bihucourt, Favreuil, and Beugnatre, thus surrounding 
Bapaume on three sides. The day had cost the Germans 
52 officers and 698 men, and the French 53 officers and 
2066 men. 

But only by exerting the whole available strength 
of the VHIth Corps had it been possible to with- 
stand the preponderating attack of the enemy. It had 

x 2 


not yet been possible to replenish the Corps' supply of 
ammunition, and General von Goeben decided to 
immediately move back the fighting ground to behind 
the Somme. This movement was actually in process 
when the patrols brought information that the enemy 
was also evacuating the neighbouring villages. 

The French troops, as yet unaccustomed to the 
vicissitudes of warfare, had suffered extremely from 
the previous day's fighting and the severe cold of the 
ensuing night. General Faidherbe could perceive that 
the forces before Peronne had been brought forward to 
Bapaume, and that the Germans thus reinforced would 
take the offensive. His chief object, the interruption 
of the siege of Peronne, had been obtained, and the 
General thought it best not to endanger that result by 
a second encounter. He led his Corps back in the 
direction of Arras. Of the German cavalry detach- 
ments following up the retirement the 8th Cuirassiers 
succeeded in breaking a French square. The 15th 
Division withdrew behind the Somme, immediately 
below Pe*ronne, and the Saxon cavalry joined the right 
wing at St. Quentin. 

Exactly at the same time the other Corps of the 1st 
Army was in conflict with the enemy on the Lower 
Seine. The French had not undertaken any new enter- 
prise on the right bank of the river, but on the left bank 
they held the wooded heights of Bois de la Londe, 
which overhang the southern outlet of the Seine after 
its encircling the peninsula of Grand Couronne. Here 
General von Bentheim, 1 with a view of gaining room 
in this direction, had assembled half the 1st Army 
Corps, and advanced on the 4th of January on Les 

1 Who had succeeded General Manteufiel in the command of the 
1st Corps, when at the beginning of December the latter found 
oppressive the command of a Corps along with the Command-in-Chief 
of the 1st Army. 


Moulineaux. Before daybreak Lieut. -Colonel von 
Hiillessem surprised the enemy's outposts there, stormed 
the rock-crowned fortalice of Chateau Robert le Diable, 
and took prisoners the defenders who had sought 
refuge amid the ruins of the castle. The heights of 
Maison Brulet were then scaled under the heavy fire 
of the enemy, and two of his guns were taken. After a 
renewed resistance at St. Ouen the French withdrew on 
Bourgachard in the afternoon, pursued towards six in 
the evening by a half squadron of dragoons, two guns, 
and a company carried on waggons, which took from 
them two 12-pounders posted at the entrance of Rouge- 
montier, killing the gunners and capturing an ammu- 
nition waggon. 

After a slight skirmish the enemy was also driven 
out of Bourgtheroulde and thrown back in the direc- 
tion of Brionne. The French right wing at Elbeuf 
during the night hastily withdrew from a position 
rendered precarious by the wavering of the other de- 
tachments. The affair cost 5 officers and 160 men. 
The loss of the French must have been equal, besides 
which they lost 300 prisoners and 4 guns. 

General Roye posted his troops behind the Rille on 
the line Pont-Audemer Brionne, but the Germans 
now held Bourgachard, Bourgtheroulde, and Elbeuf 
strongly garrisoned, with three battalions at Grand- 
Couronne in readiness to furnish support. The other 
troops returned to Rouen. An attempted advance of 
the French on the same day by the northern bank of 
the Seine had been arrested in front of Fauville, whence 
they again withdrew towards Harfleur. 

Meanwhile it had not escaped the observation of the 
VHIth Army Corps that this time the French did not 
seek the cover of the northern fortresses, but that 
they had halted south of Arras, thus betraying an in- 
tention shortly to renew the attack on the force investing 


General von Goeben therefore decided to return to 
the northern bank of the Somme, to cover that opera- 
tion, and there to take up a flanking position whose 
front the enemy would have to cross in his advance. 

On January 6th, after the troops had been permitted 
one day's rest and the ammunition had been replenished, 
the 30th Brigade moved to Bray, the 29th to Albert. 
In close vicinity to the enemy was the 3rd Cavalry 
Division at Bapaume, behind it the Guard Cavalry 
Brigade. For the protection of the left flank Lieut.- 
Colonel von Pestel 1 occupied Acheux, and from the 
investing Corps the 3rd Reserve Division moved west- 
ward of Pcronne to Feuilleres. The Corps-Artillery 
remained for the time on the left bank of the Somme, 
since it almost seemed as if the enemy intended to direct 
his attack on Amiens. 

But during the next day the French did not under- 
take anything of importance, and on the 9th Peronne 

REDUCTION OF PERONNE. January 9th. For fourteen 
days this little place had been invested by eleven bat- 
talions, sixteen squadrons, and ten batteries. Flooded 
meadows on one side, and on the other walls with 
medieval towers, had secured it against a surprise ; 
but for the rest it was commanded on all sides by 
overhanging heights. 

Although the fire of fifty-eight field guns had not 
done it much damage, yet in any case it must have 
been very soon discontinued for want of ammunition. 
A bombardment with captured French siege-artillery 
remained without result. The fortress stoutly main- 
tained its fire, and its garrison of only 3500 men even 
attempted sorties. 

As before mentioned, on the day of the battle of 

1 Commanding the 7th (Rhineland) Uhlan Regiment, the officer 
who so long and so gallantly defended Saarbriicken on his own 
responsibility in the earliest days of the war. 


Bapaume, a portion of the besieging troops had been 
necessarily withdrawn to the support of the VHIth 
Army Corps, and in the uncertainty as to the result of 
this fight it had been imperative to take precautions for 
the safety of the siege material. The troops that re- 
mained behind stood ready to march, and part of the 
heavy guns had been withdrawn. But the garrison 
maintained a waiting attitude. 

Two days later arrived a siege-train of fifty-five 
heavy guns which had been brought together at La 
Fere. A second, of twenty-eight French siege-pieces, 
was on' the way from Mezieres. The preliminaries of a 
regular siege were undertaken, and when at length on 
the 8th of January a large ammunition-convoy arrived, 
the commandant was summoned to give up a defence 
that had now become hopeless. 

On the 10th of January, General von Barnekow 
entered the fortress, which was found amply provided 
with arms, ammunition and provisions. The garrison 
were made prisoners. 

On the 7th of January, his Majesty the King had 
assigned General von Manteuffel to another section of 
the theatre of war, and had given the supreme command 
of the 1st Army to General von Goeben. 

Freed from concern as to Peronne, that General's 
only duty thenceforward was to insure the protection of 
the investment of Paris. For this purpose the Somme, 
whose passages were all in the hands of the Germans, 
formed a natural bulwark, behind which the attack even 
of a greatly superior enemy could be awaited. And 
some reinforcements now arrived for the VHIth Army 
Corps. The peaceful condition of the Lower Seine 
allowed of two infantry regiments and two batteries 
being sent from thence to Amiens. By instructions from 
the supreme Head-quarter an infantry brigade of the 
Meuse Army was held in readiness, which in case of need 
was to be sent up by rail to reinforce the 1st Army. 

It was still uncertain whither the enemy would direct 


his stroke. General von Goeben, therefore, spread his 
forces behind the Somme on a prolonged extension of 
some forty-five miles, still holding fast the points gained 
in front of the river, to meet the contingency of his 
having to renew the offensive. In the middle of the 
month, the detachments of the 1st Corps under the com- 
mand of General Count von der Groeben occupied 
Amiens, Corbie, and the line of the Hallue as a flank 
position. The 15th Division, holding Bray firmly, took 
up quarters south of that village. Next to it, on the left 
of Peronne, was the 3rd Reserve Division, right of it 
were the 16th Division and the 3rd Reserve Cavalry 
Brigade, holding Roisel and Vermand to the front. 
The 12th Cavalry Division was at St. Quentin. 

The French army had already begun to advance on 
the Cambrai high-road, and its XXIInd Corps had 
pushed back the 3rd Cavalry Division first out of 
Bapaume and then out of Albert behind the Hallue. 
The XXIIIrd followed by the same road, and their 
objective really appears to have been Amiens. But a 
reconnaissance had exposed the difficulty of attacking 
in that direction, besides which a telegram from the 
War Minister announced that the Army of Paris within 
the next few days was to make a last supreme effort to 
burst the bonds of the investment, and the Army of the 
North was enjoined to divert, as far as possible, the 
enemy's forces from the capital, and draw them on itself. 

In accordance with these orders General Faidherbe 
decided to advance without delay on St. Quentin, 
whither the Brigade Isnard was already marching from 
Cambrai. An attack on their right wing, consisting 
for the time solely of cavalry, directly threatened the 
communications of the Germans, while the vicinity of 
the northern forts afforded the French army shelter 
and also greater liberty of action. 

But General von Goeben had foreseen such a left- 
ward movement of the enemy, and concentrated all his 
forces to meet it. 


The convalescents who were fit for service joined the 
ranks. Only weak detachments were left at Amiens, 
and because of the approach of the XHIth Corps from 
the Sarthe to the Lower Seine, it was now safe to trans- 
fer the 3rd Grenadier Regiment and a heavy battery 
from thence to the Somme. 

The departure of the French from Albert and the 
march of their Corps on Combles and Sailly Saillisel 
were soon reported by the cavalry in observation. 
The newly-formed Brigade Pauly occupied Bapaume, 
and the Brigade Isnard entered St. Quentin, whence 
General zur Lippe (commanding the 12th (Saxon) 
Cavalry Division detailed from the Army of the Meuse) 
retired on Ham in accordance with orders. General 
von Goeben now moved eastward, using the roads on 
both banks of the Somme so that he might the sooner 
reach the enemy. 

January llth. The 12th Cavalry Brigade moved 
further to the right on La Fere, the 16th Division to 
Ham. The 3rd Reserve Division and the Guard 
Cavalry Brigade arrived at Nesle ; the 1 5th Division and 
the Corps Artillery, at Villers Carbonnel. An Army- 
Reserve had been formed of the troops last brought up 
from Rouen, and it followed to Harbonnieres. On the 
northern bank, the detachment under Count von der 
Groeben moved to the vicinity of Peronne. 

The four French Divisions had so far advanced on 
Vermand as to be able to unite next day near St. 
Quentin. The XXIIIrd Corps was to move straight 
upon the town, the XXIInd to cross the Somme lower 
down, and take up a position south of St. Quentin. 

January ISth. On the German side, the 16th and 
the 3rd Reserve Division moved by the south bank of 
the Somme to Jussy and Flavy, the Army-Reserve to 
Ham. The 12th Cavalry Division at Vendeuil found 
the country east of the Oise still free from the enemy. 

With the object of obtaining touch of the approach- 
ing enemy, the 15th Division was on its part to cross 


the Somme at Brie, and, together with the troops of 
General Count von der Groeben, to advance on Vermand 
and Etreillers. General von Kummer was enjoined, in 
case he found that the French had taken up a position, 
merely to watch them and to follow them should they 
retire northward, but should they march towards the 
south, to attack them with all his force. 

At half-past ten, the 29th Brigade came up on the 
hither side of Tertry with the rear-guard of the XXIInd 
Corps and its trains. The Hussars charged one of the 
battalions guarding the latter, and drove the waggons 
in the greatest disorder back on Caulaincourt, but had 
to abandon prisoners and prize under the fire of the 
approaching infantry. The French brigade had turned 
about, and it advanced to an attack on Trescon. This 
was resisted by the 65th Regiment and three batteries 
until after two o'clock, when General du Bessol 
reached the scene of the fight and ordered the French 
brigade to resume its march on St. Quentin. 

The XXIIIrd had also halted and detached a brigade 
against the left flank of the 15th Division. This, how- 
ever, on reaching Cauvigny Farm, came upon two 
German battalions, which after a protracted fire-fight 
pursued the retreating enemy and entered Caulaincourt 
at half-past three, making 1 00 prisoners and capturing 
fourteen provision-waggons. 

Meanwhile Count von der Groeben had hurried 
forward at the sound of firing. The General realized 
that he could help most efficaciously by marching 
straight on Vermand. Four batteries came into action 
against Poeuilly, which was occupied by the enemy, and 
when the 4th Grenadier Regiment passed to the assault 
the French retreated, losing some prisoners. Many 
Gardes-Mobiles were dispersed by the Uhlans. About 
Vermand the whole of the XXIIIrd Corps was now in 
the act of beginning to march off. 

Count von der Groeben therefore posted his troops 
behind the Poeuilly bottom, thereby retarding the with- 


drawal of the enemy by forcing him to halt and form front 
against each display of pressure. The 15th Division 
took up quarters about Beauvois and Caulaincourt. 

The sole aim of the French Generals on this day 
seemed to be to reach St Quentin. They neglected 
the opportunity of falling with their two Corps upon 
the single 15th Division. The XXIIIrd Corps passed 
the night in and westward of St. Quentin, and the 
XXIInd, after crossing the Somme at Serancourt, 
southward of the town. A further advance either on 
Paris or on the German lines of communications de- 
pended now, when the latter had approached so close, 
on the issue of a battle ; and this General Faidherbe 
wished to await at St. Quentin. 

It was important to hold on here in case the sortie of 
the Paris Army should result in success. The ground 
offered certain advantages the heights in front of the 
town gave a free range of fire and afforded a sheltered 
position for the reserves. It was true that the Somme 
divided the army in two halves, but the bridge of St. 
Quentin made mutual assistance possible. The enemy 
also occupied both sides of the river, and including the 
Isnard and Pauly Brigades which had come up, he finally 
counted 40,000 men, opposed to an enemy numerically 
weaker. 1 The Germans, all told, numbered exactly 
32,580 combatants, of whom nearly 6000 were cavalry. 

1 "Whether the author intends, in the two first sentences of this 
paragraph, that the advantages of the St. Quentin position should be 
enjoyed by Faidherbe or Goeben, appears somewhat obscure. The 
third sentence certainly refers to the German Army, as the succeed- 
ing one clearly shows. But this being so, there is a discrepancy 
between the text and the Staff History, as regards the side which 
the bridge of St. Quentin would serve in the battle. The following 
is quoted from that work: " Moreover, the German troops were sepa- 
rated by the Somme, whilst the bridges at St. Quentin enabled the 
French Corps to afford one another easy support." 


(January 19th.) 

General von Goeben had ordered the general attack 
for this day. 

Covered by the occupation of Se'raucourt, General 
von Barnekow advanced along the southern bank of 
the Somme, with the 16th and the 3rd Reserve Divi- 
sions from Jussy through Essigny ; the 12th Cavalry 
Division advanced on the road leading from La Fere. 

The French columns were still on the inarch to take 
up their position with its rear towards the town ; and 
Grugies was already occupied by them. While the 
32nd German Brigade advanced northward of Essigny 
the Reserve Division halted behind the village, and the 
31st Brigade at a quarter to ten advanced on Grugies. 

This attack was taken in flank on its left by the 
French Brigade Gislain, which had meanwhile occupied 
the hamlets of Contescourt and Castres. It was met in 
front by the Brigades Foerster and Pittie which had 
promptly come into action. 

The lire of the German batteries was at once 
returned vigorously from Le Moulin de Tout Vent. 
At eleven o'clock the second battalion of the 69th 
Regiment marched in company columns across the 
entirely open ground against the heights on the hither 
side of Grugies ; but the attempt, renewed four times, 
was frustrated by the destructive cross-fire of the enemy. 
The ammunition of the isolated battalion was nearly 
exhausted, and only when followed by six fresh com- 
panies of the 29th Regiment did it succeed in forcing 
the French back, after a desperate hand-to-hand fight : 
but the latter held their ground in front of Grugies 
and in the sugar-factory there. 

On the right wing, the 12th Cavalry Division were ad- 
vancing on the La Fere road. The French Brigade 
Aynes, hitherto held in reserve, rushed forward at the 
double to encounter it, and as Count zur Lippe had at 


disposition but one battalion of infantry, his advance at 
first was arrested at Comet d'Or. But when at noon the 
Division was joined by reinforcements from Tergnier, 
the Saxon rifles stormed the park by the high-road, 
and the Schleswig-Holstein Fusiliers carried La Neu- 
ville. The French, with the loss of many prisoners, 
were vigorously pursued back to the suburb of St. 
Quentin, where first they found shelter. 

Meantime, the 31st Brigade was engaged in a hot 
fight on both sides of the railway-line in front of Grugies ; 
behind its right wing was the 32nd in the hollow ground 
on the high-road, where it suffered severely from the 
enemy's shell-fire ; and on the left, the detachment 
advancing from Seraucourt did not succeed in entering 
Contescourt. And now the French made so determined 
and overwhelming an attack from Grugies, that the 
16th Division had to be withdrawn as far as Essigny. 

When after noon General Faidherbe joined the 
XXIIIrd Corps, he had reason to hope that the XXIInd 
Corps would be able to maintain its position. But 
certainly the most important result was to be looked 
for on the northern section of the battle-field. 

Here the Division Robin had taken up a position be- 
tween Fayet and Francilly. The Brigade Isnard had 
marched up it on its left, and the Brigade Lagrange of 
the Division Payen extended as far as the Somme. The 
Brigade Michelet remained in reserve, and the Brigade 
Pauly at Gricourt secured the communications rearward. 

On the German left, so early as eight o'clock, General 
Count von der Groeben set out from Pceuilly with eight 
battalions and twenty-eight guns and advanced along 
the Roman road ; the Cavalry Brigade accompanied the 
march on the left. 

The East- Prussians 1 immediately hurled the French 
back from Holnon, cleared them out of Selency, and 

1 Companies of the Crown Prince's Grenadier Regiment (the 1st 
of the Prussian line), and of the East Prussian Infantry Kegiment 
No.' 44, "belonging respectively to the 1st and 3rd Brigades, 1st 
Division, 1st Army Corps. 


then advanced against Fayet and on to the heights of 
Moulin Coutte. A gun in action, ammunition-waggons, 
and many prisoners were there taken from the enemy. 

By degrees the twenty-eight guns were massed on 
the Windmill Height and entered into a contest with 
the artillery of the Division Robin. But in the course 
of half an hour the ammunition failed, since the wag- 
gons which had been sent on the previous day to the 
ammunition column of the VHIth Corps had not yet 
come up with the reserve supply. The batteries, which 
were moreover suffering from infantry fire, had to 
retire to Holnon, and as Francilly, immediately on the 
flank and to the rear, was still occupied by the enemy, 
a further advance was temporarily postponed. 

On the right, General von Kummer with the 15th 
Division, marching from Beauvois, had reached Etreil- 
lers at ten. The King's Hussars cut in upon the 
enemy's horse in retreat, and drove them back upon 
L'Epine de Dallon, and the 29th Brigade entered Savy. 
North of that place three batteries opened fire against 
the artillery of the Division Payen, and then the 65th 
Regiment passed to the attack of the forward-lying 
copses. The smaller one to the south was carried, but 
here, as at Francilly, the Brigade Isnard maintained 
itself in the larger one to the north. 

At noon the Brigade Lagrange also advanced once 
more on the small copse and forced its way into it for a 
short time, but was again driven back by the 65th. 

The 33rd Regiment was posted in readiness on the 
threatened right flank of the 29th Brigade, and near it 
stood in action two heavy batteries of the Corps 
Artillery just arrived at Savy. At the same time the 
30th Brigade also advanced through Roupy on the right 
of the 29th. 

Meanwhile Colonel von Massow at one o'clock renewed 
the offensive on the much more advanced left wing. 
Six companies of the 44th Regiment advanced on 
Fayet, and after firing into them at the shortest range, 


drove the French from the place. Two batteries fol- 
lowed, and resumed action against the enemy's great 
artillery position at Moulin de Cepy. 

General Paulze D'lvoy, who saw the communications 
of his Corps with Cambrai in such imminent danger, had 
already called up the Brigade Michelet from its reserve 
post west of the town, and thus reinforced now advanced 
on Fayet. The Prussian detachments that were in the 
place had to be withdrawn to Moulin Coutte ; but the 
further advance of the enemy towards these heights 
was arrested by a flank attack from Selency, and at 
the same time the farmstead of Bois des Roses was 
carried. The French again withdrew on, Fayet. 

There, at Francilly ? and in the northern copses, they 
still held their own at half-past one, while at that hour, 
on the German side, all three brigades had been 
brought up into the fighting-line. The Army-Reserve 
had arrived from Ham at Roupy, but General von 
Goeben, who from the latter place had been watching 
the slow progress of the 16th Division, had already 
sent it at eleven o'clock through Seraucourt to the 
support of that Division. 

Colonel von Boecking (commanding the Army- 
Reserve), with his three battalions, three squadrons, and 
two batteries, advanced from Seraucourt against Contes- 
court. Hastening forward with the cavalry, he brought 
his artillery promptly into action; and then the 41st 
Regiment, immediately on its arrival, passed to the 
attack. The battalion of the 19th Regiment which was 
already on the spot, joined in the fighting, and the 
enemy with the loss of many prisoners, was at one o'clock 
driven out of Contescourt and of Castres as Avell, towards 
the heights of Grugies. Against these heights the fire 
of the artillery, which had gradually been increased to 
thirty guns, was now directed. 

Bent on further disputing the position, General 
Lecomte brought up several battalions from the brigades 
of Pittie and Aynes for the reinforcement of the Brigade 


Gislain. The East-Prussian Regiment (41st) succeeded, 
nevertheless, by half-past two o'clock, in hurling the 
enemy by an outflanking attack from the heights into 
the hollow in front of Grugies. Colonel von Boecking's 
vigorous attack made itself felt throughout the whole 
front of fight. 

With a view to renewing a general advance, General 
von Barnekow had ordered up his last reserves from 
Essigny, when towards three o'clock the Brigade Pittie 
unexpectedly pushed forward an attack along the rail- 
way line. Its right scourged by artillery fire from 
Castres, it found its left taken at unawares by the 
charge of five squadrons of reserve cavalry from the 
Urvilliers hollow. Simultaneously Colonel von Hartz- 
berg advanced with the 32nd Brigade, and drove the 
enemy back to Moulin de Tout Vent. 

The Brigade Foerster, south of Grugies, had still held 
out stubbornly, although now seriously threatened on 
the right from Giffecourt, as well as by the 12th Cavalry 
Division on its left flank. Its left flank now completely 
uncovered by the retreat of the Brigade Pittie*, and its 
last strength exhausted by a long struggle, the brigade 
found itself finally forced to evacuate its long-held 
position. The 31st Brigade advanced along the rail- 
way-line as far as the sugar-factory, and Colonel von 
Boecking drove the last French detachments out of 
Grugies. He then prepared with his artillery the attack 
upon Moulin de Tout Vent. Against these heights the 
41st Regiment, the battalions already ordered up from 
Essigny, and the 32nd Brigade advanced to a concentric 
attack. The French did not prolong their resistance, 
and indeed were already in retreat. The entire German 
fighting line, with the 12th Cavalry Division on its 
right, moved forward on the town, which was now 
reached by the fire of the artillery posted at 
Gauchy. The cavalry repeatedly broke in on the 
retreating hostile bodies ; and the railway-station and 
suburb, in which was found only the rear-guard of 


the XXth French Corps, was occupied after a short 

Whilst on the southern section of the battle-field the 
action took this turn, on the northern side the attacks 
were also being pushed. 

By two o'clock the 28th Regiment advancing from 
Roupy by the road from Ham had carried the farm- 
stead of 1'Epine de Dallon ; and almost simultaneously 
Count von der Groeben's infantry came up to renew 
the offensive. 

Whilst on the right some companies of the 4th and 
44th Regiments opposed the advance of French detach- 
ments from the larger copse, Major von Elpons with 
six companies of the Crown Prince Grenadiers, ad- 
vanced from Holnon and Selency upon Francilly, and, 
notwithstanding the hot fire of the defenders, forced ai? 
entrance into this very straggling village, in which 
many prisoners were made. As, however, the East- 
Prussian Regiment then advanced further south of the 
Roman road, it had in its turn to sustain a formidable 

To cover its threatened line of retreat, the Brigade 
Michelet once more advanced from Fayet, and the 
Brigade Pauly also marched from Gricourt upon Moulin 
Coutte. This position, which had in the meantime 
been strengthened by artillery, was, however, obsti- 
nately held by the 44th Regiment, and when the 
Grenadier companies poured in leftward towards the 
Roman road, the enemy's attack was here also repulsed. 

Meanwhile the 29th Brigade, followed by the 30th, 
had already advanced in the direction of St. Quentin, the 
33rd Regiment on its right and the 65th Regiment on the 
left. The latter regiment now took complete possession 
of the larger copse, and forty-eight guns were brought 
up on both sides of the road from Savy. The further 
advance of the infantry was effected in column of com- 
panies and on an extended line, because of the heavy 
shell fire of the French. The Brigades of Lagrange 



and Isnard did not await the shock, but at four o'clock 
retired on St. Quentin with the loss of one gun. 

Their artillery once more took up a position at 
Rocourt, but at five o'clock had to abandon it abruptly, 
and the French now confined themselves to the defence 
of the barricaded accesses into the St. Martin suburb of 
St. Quentin. 

Six Prussian batteries were brought up against 
these, and the 29th Brigade for some time maintained 
a stationary fire fight on the strongly held buildings and 
gardens ; but presently several companies from Rocourt 
established themselves in the suburb, in which street- 
fighting was still continued, even after Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Hiillessem had succeeded in crossing the 
canal bridge and entering the town itself. 

By four o'clock, General Faidherbe had already the 
conviction that the XXIIIrd Corps would probably be 
unable to hold its ground. In this event his choice 
was limited to the alternative of a night retreat, or of 
being shut up in St. Quentin. He had not yet formed 
a decision, when he met in the town General Lecointe, 
who reported that he had abandoned the defence of 
the left bank of the Somme. Thanks to the resistance 
still maintained by the XXIIIrd Corps on the north, 
the XXIInd was enabled to retire unmolested on Le 

The Commanding General now ordered General 
Paulze d'lvoy to retire on that place, but the latter 
only received the order at six in the evening, when 
the brigades of the right wing Pauly's and Miche- 
let's had already started of their own accord for 
Cambrai. The more obstinately the two remaining 
brigades now defended the suburb of St. Martin, the 
more ominous for them must prove the result of the 
action. Attacked in rear by the battalions of Colonel 
von Boecking, the greater portion were made prisoners. 
The 41st Regiment alone took prisoners 54 officers and 
2260 men, besides capturing 4 guns. General Faidherbe 


himself only escaped the same fate by the help of the 

The action ended at half-past six in the evening, 
and the troops passed the night in the town and in 
the captured villages. 

The hard- won victory had cost the Germans 96 
officers and 2304 men; 3000 wounded Frenchmen 
were found on the battle-field, and the number of 
un wounded prisoners exceeded 9000. 

According to theory, the pursuit should invariably 
clinch the victory a postulate assented to by all, and 
particularly by civilians ; and yet in practice it is 
seldom observed. Military history furnishes but few 
instances, such as the famous one of Belle Alliance. 
It requires a very strong and pitiless will to impose 
fresh exertions and dangers upon troops who have 
marched, fought and fasted for ten or twelve hours, 
in place of the longed-for rest and food. But even 
given the possession of this will, the question of pursuit 
will yet depend on the circumstances under which the 
victory has been won. It will be difficult of execution 
when all the bodies on the field of battle, as at Konig- 
griitz, have become so intermixed that hours are 
required to re-form them into tactical cohesion ; or 
when, as at St. Quentin, all, even the troops last thrown 
into the action, have become so entangled that not one 
single tactically complete body of infantry remains at 
disposition. Without the support of such a body, 
cavalry at night will be seriously detained before every 
obstacle and each petty post of the enemy, and thus 
alone its exertions will rarely be repaid. 1 

1 Moltke, although not quite inexperienced in the practical con- 
duct of war on a large scale, would scarcely have ventured to ex- 
press himself as above, if he had studied the teachings of The Soldier's 
Pocket-Book. The distinguished author of that profound and 
accurate treatise writes of pursuits in quite a different tone. " You 
have won a great battle," writes Lord Wolseley, " and the enemy 
are in full retreat ; run after him ; hammer him with guns ; charge 
him with cavalry ; harass him with mounted infantry ; pass round 

Y 2 


General von Goeben did not pursue the defeated 
enemy till the following day. His advanced cavalry 
ranged up to the suburb of Cambrai and the glacis 
of Landrecies, without meeting with any resistance, 
and merely brought in some hundreds of stragglers. 
The Infantry Divisions followed to within four miles of 
Cambrai. Against this fortress nothing could be under- 
taken through want of siege material, and there was 
no military advantage to be derived in extending 
further north. Among the news to hand it was 
reported that a considerable portion of the French 
Army of the North had retired upon Lille, Douai and 
Valenciennes. As fresh enterprises on its part were 
.consequently not to be expected, General von Goeben 
brought his force back to the Somme. where towards 


the end of the month it took up rest quarters between 
Amiens and St. Quentin. 

On the Lower Seine, the Grand Duke of Mecklen- 
burg entered Rouen with the XHIth Corps on the 
25th, after having encountered on the march only a 
few franctireurs. Although General Loysel had in- 
creased his force to a strength of nearly 30,000 by 
reinforcements from Cherbourg, he had remained 
entirely inactive. 

General von Goeben had in view the transfer to the 
Army of the Somme of that portion of the 1st Corps 
still about Rouen ; but this was disapproved of by 
telegram from the supreme Head-quarter, which on 
political grounds ordered its continued retention there. 


SIEGE OF BELFORT. In the south-eastern theatre 
of war, the forces detailed to operate against Belfort 

his flanks, and keep pushing him and hitting him from morning until 
night. Caution is \>ut of place when you have a beaten army before 
you. Wellington nWer delivered any crushing blow, because he 
failed to pursue" 


had been only gradually brought together under cover 
of the XlVth Army Corps. 

The town is surrounded by a bastioned enceinte. 
The citadel has a wide command, built as it is on lofty 
rocks, which, to increase the development of fire, are 
encircled by successive tiers of works in terrace-forma- 
tion. On the left bank of the Savoureuse, newly con- 
structed lines of defence protected the suburb and rail- 
way station. On the high adjacent ridge to the north- 
east the forts of La Miotte and La Justice, with the 
enclosing lines connecting them with the main fortress, 
formed a spacious intrenched camp. Hostile occupa- 
pation of the lofty eminences of the two Perches (Hautes 
and Basses) would certainly endanger the whole de- 
fensive position, dominating as they did even the citadel 
from the south at a distance of only 1100 yards, and 
whence the works on the left bank of the river could 
be brought under fire. But two forts of masonry 
had been constructed on the Perches before the advent 
of the enemy, and further to strengthen the defence 
the nearest copses and villages, as for instance Perouse 
and Danjoutin, had been intrenched. 

The fortress was by no means deficient in bomb- 
proof accommodation. Its armament consisted of 341 
heavy guns, and it was provisioned for five months. 

When immediately after the opening of the campaign, 
the Vllth French Corps vacated Alsace, only about 
5000 Gardes-Mobiles remained in Belfort, but its 
garrison, increased by calling in National Guards, now 
exceeded 17,000. 

The vigilant Commandant, Colonel Denfert, laid 
great stress on the maintenance in force of the environs 
in his front. The advanced posts were every day 
assigned to fresh operations, which the artillery of the 
fortress had to cover at extreme ranges. 

On the opposite side, General von Tresckow (com- 
manding 1st Reserve Division) had available at the 
outset, a force of not more than twenty weak battalions 
of Landwehr, five squadrons and six field-batteries, in 


all barely 15,000 men. He had at first to confine him- 
self to a mere investment. The troops, intrenched in 
the villages round a wide circumference, had to repe] 
many sorties. 

Orders were received from the supreme Head- 
quarter to set about the regular siege of the place. 
General von Mertens was charged with the direction 
of the engineer operations, and Lieut.-Col. Scheliha 
with that of the artillery attack. The difficulties 
of the undertaking were obvious. The rocky nature 
of the soil could not but increase the labour of 
throwing up earthworks, and the cold season was 
approaching. The attack could be carried on suc- 
cessfully only from the south against the main work 
the formidable citadel. Only fifty heavy guns were 
available for the time, and the infantry strength was 
not sufficient to eificiently invest the place on all 

In these circumstances, there devolved on General 
von Tresckow the task of attempting the reduc- 
tion of Belfort by a mere bombardment. Towards 
this purpose the attack was chiefly directed from 
the west, in which quarter, after the enemy's garrison 
had been driven out of Valdoye, the infantry occupied 
Essert and Bavilliers, as well as the adjacent wooded 
heights. On December 2nd seven batteries were con- 
structed on the plateau between these two villages by 
3000 men, under cover of two battalions. The hard- 
frozen ground added to the difficulties of the work; 
yet, notwithstanding the moonlight night, the opera- 
tions would appear to have escaped the attention of 
the besieged. When on the following morning the sun 
had dispersed the fog and made visible the objects, fire 
was opened. 

The fortress replied at first but feebly, but afterwards 
with increasing vigour from the entire line of works, 
even from Forts La Miotte and La Justice at a range 
of 4700 yards, and the losses in the trenches were 


Four more batteries in front of Bavilliers were 
armed, and on the fall of La Tuilerie the infantry 
pressed on to within 170 yards of the enemy's most 
advanced trenches. The artillery fire caused a con- 
flagration in the town ; but the ammunition was soon 
exhausted, whilst the lofty citadel maintained un- 
checked an effective fire, and repeated sorties on the 
part of the garrison had to be repelled. It was now 
clear, since no decisive result had followed the methods 
hitherto resorted to, that only by a regular attack could 
that be attained. 

On the south Colonel von Ostrowski on December 
13th had carried the French positions of Adelnans and 
the wooded heights of Le Bosmont and La Brosse. On 
the eastern point of' the latter two batteries, and on 
its northern skirt four additional batteries had been 
thrown up, not without great difficulty arising from 
thaw having made the ground a swamp. On January 
7th, fifty guns opened fire. The superiority of the 
artillery of the attack was soon manifest. Fort 
Bellevue suffered severely, and notably the fire from 
Basses Perches was entirely silenced. 

But it was of grave importance that the village 
of Danjoutin, strongly garrisoned and intrenched by 
the enemy, stood in the way of a further advance. 
During the night of the 8th January seven companies 
attacked this position, and also from the northward at 
the same time took possession of the railway-embank- 
ment. With empty rifles the Landwehr hurled them- 
selves against the enemy in the face of a hot fire, and 
charged along the village street up to the church. The 
supports hastening from the fortress were driven back 
at the railway-embankment, but the fight about the 
buildings in the southern quarter of the village lasted 
till towards noon. Of the defenders, twenty officers and 
700 men were taken prisoners. 

Typhus and small-pox had broken out in Belfort ; 
and in the besieging force also the number of the sick 
reached a considerable figure, caused by arduous work 


in inclement weather. Most of the battalions could 
only muster 500 men, and this weakness led General 
von Tresckow to devote half his force to the lighter 
duty of protecting the investment from without, prin- 
cipally towards the south. 

Trustworthy intelligence estimated the French 
strength at Besa^on at 62,000. Although hitherto en- 
tirely inactive, this force now seemed in strong earnest to 
press on to the relief of the hard-pressed fortress by the 
line of the Doubs. On this line was the fortified chateau 
of Montbeliard, held by one German battalion, and armed 
with heavy guns. Between the Doubs and the Swiss 
frontier about Delle stood General Debschitz with eight 
battalions, two squadrons, and two batteries, and General 
von Werder concentrated the XlVth Corps at Noroy, 
Aillevans, and Athesans, to oppose with all his strength 
any interruption of the siege of Belfort. 

From January 5th onwards there ensued a series of 
engagements in front of Vesoul, as the result of which 
the enemy advanced from the south and west to within 
four miles of that town. There could be no doubt that 
very considerable forces were engaged in this advance. 
East also of the Ognon, the enemy's posts were advanced 
beyond Rougemont, although in lesser force. In these 
actions 500 prisoners were made ; and it was at once 
evident that besides the XVIIIth, the XXIVth and 
XXth Corps also formed part of Bourbaki's army ; a 
circumstance which threw a sudden light upon a totally 
changed phase of the war. 

had been expected by the supreme Headquarter at Ver- 
sailles, about the beginning of January an attempt had 
been made to bring about combined action on the part 
of Generals Chanzy and Bourbaki. As we have already 
seen, the advance of the former had been thwarted by 
Prince Frederick Charles on the Loir, and Bourbaki 


had actually made preparations for an advance by Mon- 
targis to the relief of Paris. But he delayed its execution 
until the 1 9th December, when the Ilnd German Army 
had already returned to Orleans from its expedition to 
Le Mans. General Bourbaki had now to realize that 
the Ilnd Army would fall on the flank of his projected 
movement, and he thus the more readily concurred in 
another plan, devised by the Delegate de Freycinet, 
and approved of by the Dictator Gambetta. 

This was for the XVth Corps to remain about Bourges 
and to cover that town in intrenched positions about 
Vierzon and Nevers ; the XVIIIth and XXth were to 
proceed to Beaune by railway, and, when raised to a 
strength of 70,000 by an union with Garibaldi and 
Creiner, to occupy Dijon. The newly-formed XXIVth 
Corps was also to be moved by railway from Lyons to 
Besan9on, where, with the forces already there, a 
strength of 50,000 would be attained. In co-operation 
with the " invincibles of Dijon," it then would be 
easy to raise the siege of Belfort " without even 
striking a blow." It was expected that the mere 
existence of this mass of considerably above 100,000 
men would avert any attacks upon the Northern 
fortresses ; in any case, there was the certainty of 
severing the enemy's various lines of communication, 
and the later prospect also of combined action with 

The railway transport of Bourbaki's army from the 
Loir to the Saone had already commenced by Decem- 
ber 23rd. In the absence of all preparations, many 
interruptions and breaks-down in the traffic naturally 
occurred, and the troops suffered severely from the 
intense cold and from being insufficiently cared for. 
When Chagny and Chalons sur Saone had been reached, 
and it was ascertained that the Germans had already 
evacuated Dijon, it was decided to again entrain the 
troops so as to bring them nearer to Besan^.on ; whence 
arose a fresh delay, and it was only in the beginning of 
the new year that the Army of the East stood in readi- 


ness between Dijon and Besan9on. The XVth Corps 
was now also ordered thither, but fourteen days were 
required for its transportation. 

The comprehensive plan of M. Freycinet, and his 
sanguine expectations, were essentially favoured by the 
circumstance that the transfer of those great bodies of 
troops to a remote section of the field of war had 
remained concealed for a fortnight from the Ilnd 
Army, as well as from the XlVth Corps, and conse- 
quently from the chief Head-quarter. Rumours and 
newspaper articles had no doubt given somewhat 
earlier hints, but General von Werder's telegram of 
January 5th was the first really authentic announce- 
ment by which it was known beyond doubt that the 
Germans now stood face to face with an entirely altered 
aspect of the military situation. In Versailles the ap- 
propriate dispositions and arrangements were promptly 
made, and steps taken for the formation of a new Army 
of the South. 

There was available for this purpose the Ilnd Corps 
at Montargi?, and half of the Vllth under General von 
Zastrow at Auxerre, which during this period of un- 
certainty had been constantly moving to and fro be- 
tween the Saone and Yonne, according as the one or 
the other quarter appeared to be threatened. The 
chief command of these two Corps, to which was after- 
wards added that of the XlVth, was entrusted to 
General von Manteuffel. General von Werder could 
not be immediately reinforced, and for a time the 
XI\ th Corps was thrown upon its own resources. 

Notwithstanding their superiority of strength, the 
French did more manoeuvring than fighting. General 
Bourbaki aimed at outflanking the left wing of the 
XlVth Corps, and thus entirely cutting it off from Bel- 
fort. On January 5th the XV tilth Corps advanced by 
Grandvelle, and the XXth by Echenoz le Sec, on Vesoul ; 
but, as we have seen, they there met with opposition, 
and as the XXIVth Corps sent to the right to Esprels 


learned that Villersexel was occupied by the Germans, 
Bourbaki determined upon a still more easterly and 
circuitous route. On the 8th the two Corps of the left 
wing marched off to the right, the XVIIIth to Mont- 
bozon, the XXth to Rougemont ; the XXIVth went 
back to Cuse. At the same time General Cremer 
received orders to move from Dijon on Vesoul. On 
the 9th the XXIVth and XXth Corps were at Velle- 
chevreux and Villargent on the Arcey- Villersexel road, 
while the head of the XVIIIth Corps reached Villersexel 
and Esprels. 

General von Werder had no alternative but to 
follow this sideward movement in all haste. He ordered 
the Baden Division x to Athesans, the 4th Reserve 
Division to Aillevans, and Von der Goltz's Brigade 
to Noroy le Bourg. The trains were put in march to 

ACTION OF VILLERSEXEL, January 9th. Accordingly 
at seven in the morning the Reserve Division was sent 
on from Noroy to Aillevans, and began bridging the 
Ognon to admit of the continuation of the march. A 
flanking detachment of the 25th Regiment sent to the 
right, was fired on near Villersexel, and the attempt to 
carry the stone bridge at that place failed shortly after. 
The French with two and a half battalions occupied 
the town, situated on a height on the further bank of 
the river. Shortly afterwards reinforcements came up 
on the German side. Two batteries opened fire upon the 
place and upon the still advancing bodies of the enemy. 
The 25th Regiment crossed the river by the suspension 
bridge and broke into the walled park and into the 
chateau. At one o'clock the French were driven out 
of the town with the loss of many prisoners, and a 
pause in the fighting ensued. 

The Prussian force during the fighting had been 
seriously threatened on its flank by the advance from 
Esprels of the 1st Division of the French XVIIIth Corps, 


with the artillery-reserve. General von der Gdtz, 
however, opposed it by occupying the village of Moimay. 
He also sent to Villersexel nine companies of the 
30th Regiment, to relieve the 25th Regiment there, so 
as to allow the latter to rejoin its own Division in the 
further march. His combined brigade was eventually 
to form the rear-guard of the whole movement. 

General von Werder, who observed the considerable 
force in which the French were advancing on Viller- 
sexel from the south, concluded that there was less to 
be gained by forcing his own passage across the 
Ognon than by opposing that of the French, since 
the river covered his line of approach to Belfort. He 
therefore recalled the infantry already issuing to the 
southward from the town, and withdrew the batteries 
to the northern side of the river. Here the main body 
of the 4th Reserve Division took up a defensive posi- 
tion, and the Baden Division was called in on its 
march at Arpenans and Lure, as a much-needed rein- 
forcement to the former. 

It was already evening when large columns of the 
French advanced on Villersexel and shelled the town. 

Favoured by the darkness, they penetrated into the 
park and chateau, from which the German garrison had 
already been withdrawn ; and as the general condition 
of things did not seem to necessitate the occupation of 
Villersexel, the responsible officers ordered the evacua- 
tion of the town. Though hard pressed by the enemy, 
this movement had been nearly completed, when 
orders arrived from General von Werder to hold the 

At once four battalions from the Reserve Division 
advanced to the renewed attack. The 25th Regiment 
turned about at the bridge over the Ognon and joined 
them. The Landwehr rushed into the ground floor of 


the straggling chateau, but the French defended them- 
selves in the upper floors and the cellars. On the 
staircase and in the passages of the already burning 


buildings there ensued a hot and changeful combat, and 
the fight was maintained in the streets. Not till the 
General in command took the matter in hand, and him- 
self ordered it to be broken off, were dispositions made 
at one o'clock in the morning for a gradual retirement, 
which was completed by three. The Reserve Division 
then recrossed the bridge at Aillevans, and occupied 
St. Sulpice on the right. 

General von der Goltz had held Moimay until 

Of the XlVth Corps only 15,000 had been engaged, 
of whom 26 officers and 553 men had fallen. The French 
losses amounted to 27 officers and 627 men ; and they 
also left behind in the , hands of the Germans 700 un- 
wounded prisoners. The French troops which chiefly 
took part in the operations were the XVIIIth and 
XXth Corps ; the XXIVth Corps, on account of the 
fighting in its rear, had suspended its march to 
Arcey through Sevenans. Detachments of the gradu- 
ally incoming XVth Corps advanced from southward in 
the direction of Belfort. 

On the morning of January 10th, General von 
Werder massed his Corps in the vicinity of Aillevans, 
ready to engage the enemy should the latter attempt an 
advance through Villersexel. But no attack was made, 
and so the march could be resumed that same morning. 
As a matter of fact, the French with three Corps were as 
near to Belfort as the Germans were with three Divi- 
sions. To cover the departure the Reserve Division 
took up a position at Athesans, and on the following 
day all the forces reached and occupied the line of 
the Lisaine. On the right wing about Frahier and 
Chalonvillars stood the Baden Division ; in the centre, 
the Reserve Brigade between Chagey and Couthenans ; 
on the left, the Reserve Division at Hericourt and 
Tavey. On the south, General von Debschitz stood 
in observation at Delle, and Colonel von Bredow at 
Arcey ; towards the west Colonel von Willisen -was at 


Lure with the detachment of eight companies, thirteen 
squadrons, two batteries, which had come up from 

General von Werder had in fact, succeeded in inter- 
posing his force between the enemy and Belfort. 

The French commander, under the intoxicating 
impression of a victory, had resigned himself to in- 
activity. " General Billot," he reported to the Govern- 
ment at Bordeaux, " has occupied Esprels and main- 
tains himself there." We know that he was never 
attacked there at all, and that he did not succeed in 
driving away General von der Goltz from the vicinity 
of Moimay. " General Clinchant has carried Viller- 
sexel with extraordinary dash ; " but the fight of the 9th 
was, as regards the Germans, maintained with only a por- 
tion of the XlVth Corps, to cover the right flank of the 
main body on its march. Whilst, then, this movement 
of the latter was prosecuted with the utmost energy, 
the French army remained passive for two days, ready 
for action and in the confident expectation that the 
enemy described as beaten, would come on again to fight 
for the supremacy. Not until the 13th did the XXIVth 
Corps advance on Arcey, the XXth on Saulnot, and 
the XVIIIth follow to Sevenans. The XVth was to 
support an attack on Arcey by way of Ste. Marie. 

General von Werder had utilized this interval, while 
the troops were hastening forward, in ascertaining the 
eligibility of the Lisaine position and in a consulta- 
tion with General von Tresckow in rear of it. 

A detailed inspection showed that at Frahier the 
Lisaine, there but an unimportant streamlet, flows 
through a broad grassy hollow, and thence to Chagey 
through steep wooded slopes. About He'ricourt the 
valley opens out into a wide plain, which is however 
commanded by the rocky heights of Mont Vaudois. 
Lower down the wooded heights line the river as far as 
Montbeliard, which with the Allaine brook forms a 


strong point of support and the extremity of the 

The wooded character of the plain west of the Lisaine 
would necessarily increase the assailants' difficulties in 
the deployment of large infantry masses and a strong 
artillery line. It is true that during the prevailing 
severe cold the river was everywhere frozen over ; but 
only two high-roads led through the forest into the 
valley from the direction by which the French army 
was advancing, one to Montbeliard, the other to Heri- 
court. The other accesses were narrow, hollow roads 
rendered difficult of use by frost. 

General von Tresckow had already armed the most 
important points with, siege guns, the castle of Mont- 
beliard with six, and the neighbouring height of La 
Grange Dame with five heavy cannon. Seven were 
placed on Mont Vaudois and near Hericourt ; besides 
these, twenty-one others commanded the valley of the 
Allaine southward as far as Delle. 

All the troops that could be spared from the invest- 
ing force were also withdrawn from before Belfort. Still 
there remained the important consideration that the 
available forces might not suffice to entirely cover the 
whole of the Lisaine line. The right wing was the locally 
weakest portion of the whole position, but here there was 
the least to be apprehended, the enemy's main attack, 
since the many needs of the numerous but inadequately 
equipped French army made the nearest possible 
vicinity of one of the railroads a necessity. The 
Vesoul line by way of Lure was broken in many 
places, and the Besan^on line led towards the strong 
left wing. The country north of Chagey might there- 
fore more weakly be held, and a reserve was formed of 
the largest part of the Baden Division, which was dis- 
tributed in rear of the centre and left about Mandre- 
villars, Brevilliers and Charmont. 

The respite accorded by the enemy was turned to 
account with the utmost zeal in the construction of 


rifle-pits and of battery emplacements, the establish- 
ment of telegraph and relay lines, the improvement of 
roads and the replenishment of supplies and ammuni- 

January IStli. On the morning of the 13th the 
advanced posts of the 3rd Reserve Division were now 
attacked at Arcey, Ste. Marie and Gonvillars. They 
were instructed to withdraw before a superior force, 
but to hold their own long enough to compel the de- 
ployment of the hostile columns. The combat with 
French artillery coming up at wide intervals was there- 
fore prolonged for a considerable time ; then, after a three 
hours' resistance, a new position was taken up behind 
the Rupt brook, and the retirement on Tavey delayed 
until four in the afternoon. The advanced guard of 
General von der Goltz, after a whole brigade had de- 
ployed against it, also took up a position at Chavanni 
on a parallel front with that at Couthenans. 

Before the Allaine front the French did not succeed 
in driving General von Debschitz's advanced posts out 
of Dasle and Croix. 

January lth. On the 14th General von Willisen 
Avith fifty dismounted Dragoons drove back the enemy 
advancing on Lure, and then retired with his detach- 
ment on Ronchamp. 

The French army did not yet on this day undertake 
a serious attack. It stood with the XVth, XXIVth, and 
XXth Corps, closely concentrated opposite the German 
left and centre at a distance of scarcely four-and-a-half 
miles. The German right was supposed by General 
Bourbaki to rest upon Mont Vaudois. His plan was to 
cross the Lisaine in force above this point of support, 
and by thus turning the hostile flank to facilitate a 
frontal attack. The XVIIIth Army Corps and the 
Division Creiner were assigned to this service. A draw- 
back to this judicious arrangement was, that the two 
above-mentioned bodies designed by the oflicer in 
supreme command to open the fight on the 14th, would 


have the longest distance to march to their task. On 
this day the leading troops of the XVIIIth Army Corps 
barely succeeded in reaching the vicinity of Lomont 
through difficult hill and woodland region, and 
Cremer's Brigade l had only then begun to advance 
from Vesoul. A postponement to the 15th was there- 
upon determined. 

On the German side, a general attack by the greatly 
superior enemy was hourly expected, and General von 
Werder felt himself bound to send by telegraph to 
Versailles a representation of the extreme seriousness 
of his position. The rivers, being frozen over, were pass- 
able, and the duty of covering Belfort deprived him of 
freedom of movement and endangered the existence of 
his corps. He earnestly prayed that the question 
should be weighed, whether the investment of Belfort 
should continue to be maintained. 

In the supreme Head-quarter it was considered that 
any further retirement of the XVth 2 Army Corps 
would have the immediate effect of raising the siege of 
Belfort, and causing the loss of the considerable 
material which had been provided therefor ; that it 
Avas impossible to foresee where such further retirement 
would end ; and that it could but delay the co-operation 
of the army advancing by forced marches under General 
von Manteuffel. At three o'clock on the afternoon of 
15th January a positive order was despatched to General 
von Werder to accept battle in front of Belfort. He 
was, as was only fair, relieved of the moral responsi- 
bility of the consequences of a possibly disastrous issue. 
But before this order reached him, the General had 
already come to the same resolution. 

1 Slip of the pen for " Division." 

2 So in text ; a slip of the pen, or printer's error, for the XlVth 
Corps, which von Werder commanded. There was no XVth Corps 
in 1871. 


(January 15th to 17th.) 

January 15th. On the morning of the 15th of 
January, two Divisions of the French XVth Corps, 
strengthened by artillery, advanced on Montbeliard ; 
a third followed in reserve. The East-Prussian Land- 
wehr battalions, which had pushed forward to the 
Mont Chevis Farm and Ste. Suzanne, held their position 
for a long time, advanced on their part to the attack, 
and drove the heads of the enemy's columns back upon 
the Rupt brook. But when the latter in the afternoon 
deployed in greater force along the edge of the wood, the 
Landwehr advanced posts were at two o'clock ordered 
back to the left bank of the Lisaine. The town of 
Montbeliard, entirely commanded by the surrounding 
heights, was also voluntarily evacuated, only its fortified 
castle being held. But east of Montbeliard General von 
Gliimer with the 1st Baden Brigade had taken up a posi- 
tion, and had brought up four field-batteries alongside 
the siege guns on the plateau of La Grange Dame. 

Towards the close of the day the French, after a 
continuous but ineffective bombardment from eight 
batteries, took possession of the town, but did not make 
any further advance. 

Neither had they prospered in their attempt to cross 
the Lisaine at Be'thoncourt. An officer and sixty men, 
who had sought cover within a walled graveyard from 
the sharp fire of the defenders, were taken prisoners. 

Further to the north the French XXIVth Corps 
continued to advance, but it was two o'clock before its 
columns were able to deploy from the wood. Four 
battalions did, indeed, succeed in taking possession of 
the village of Bussurel on the western bank of the 
Lisaine, but their further advance was frustrated by 
the fire of the defenders in cover behind the railway 


embankment, and by that of the Baden battalions and 
batteries brought up from the main reserve. 

Hericourt, on the great high road from Besan9on and 
only little more than four miles from Belfort, became a 
point of special importance in the German fighting line. 
Here in front of the Lisaine the right wing of the 4th 
Reserve Division struck the enemy. 

The little wooded knoll of Mougnot, which forms a 
sort of bridge-head to the narrow gorge through which 
the road passes, had been fortified by the pioneers with 
abatis, battery emplacements and rifle-pits, the town 
in its rear prepared for defence, and the base of the 
heights on either of its sides faced with artillery. Four 
East-Prussian Landwehr battalions were in touch on 
the right with the Reserve Brigade, which held the 
slope of Mont Vaudois as far as Luze. 

About ten o'clock the French deployed their artil- 
lery on the bare heights close to the line of approach in 
the vicinity of Tremoins. Upon their infantry advanc- 
ing leftwards through Byans, the German detachment 
which till then had been left in Tavey fell back on 
Hericourt in reserve, and the enemy's first attack on 
Mougnot was shattered by the resistance of its defenders, 
and by the fire of sixty-one guns on the further bank 
of the river. The attempt was not repeated that day, 
and the French confined themselves to a heavy but 
ineffective cannonade. 

According to the instructions issued by General 
Bourbaki, the XXth Corps was to await the result of 
the great outflanking movement which was to be carried 
out by General Billot with the XVIIIth Corps and 
Cremer's Division. As, however, these had not yet 
put in an appearance, the Army-Reserve had to be 
brought up leftward to Coisevaux to protect General 
Clinchant's flank. 

The orders from the Army Head-quarter had not 
reached the XVIIIth Corps until midnight. It had 
moreover to accomplish a difficult march by deeply 

z 2 


snowed-up woodland paths. This entailed crossings, 
not only between the flank columns of its 1st and 3rd 
Divisions, but even with the Division Cre"mer at 
Lyoffans. This Division had only by dint of the 
greatest exertion reached Lure during the night, and 
could not get further on to Beverne until nine in the 
morning. A fresh delay was occasioned by the order 
to bring up in front of the infantry the artillery even 
the reserve artillery which was marching in the very 
rear ; and thus it happened that the XVIIIth Corps did 
not succeed in deploying two of its Divisions opposite 
Luze and Chagey till between 12 and 2 in the afternoon. 

The 1st Division occupied Couthenans with one 
battalion, and brought up five batteries on the reverse 
slope of the heights to the north of that place. But 
the fire from the opposite bank prevented their further 
progress, and in a short time several of the batteries 
had but two guns left fit for action, although the Ger- 
mans, in view of the difficulty of replenishment, used 
their ammunition as sparingly as possible. At three 
o'clock there was a pause in the artillery fight, which 
however was resumed energetically on the arrival of 
reinforcements, when the artillery of the XXI Vth 
Corps coming from Byans took part in it. An 
infantry attack on a large scale was not yet attempted. 

There was scarcely more vigour in the advance of 
the 3rd Division against Chagey, which was occupied 
only by a Baden battalion ; yet it was from here that 
the outflanking movement of the German right wing by 
turning Mont Vaudois was to be gone upon. The 
wood reached to the first houses of the village, and the 
only difficulty was the climb up the steep face of the 
height. Two French battalions suddenly burst from the 
gorge south of it, and drove in the Baden outposts ; 
the further attack was to have been supported from 
Couthenans on the south, but the infantry advancing 
from thence found itself forced to turn back by the fire 
from the opposite bank. Only by a renewed effort did 


the Zouaves succeed in entering Chagey, where a stub- 
born fight raged in and around the houses. Meanwhile 
two Baden battalions came up, who, at five o'clock, 
drove the enemy out of the village back into the wood. 
Fresh reinforcements hastened to the support of the 
latter from the reserve near by, the short winter's day 
was over, and here during the night the French 
attempted nothing further. The 2nd Division of the 
French Corps had only advanced as far as Beverne, the 
cavalry had not moved from Lyoffans. 

The Division Cremer, despite its late arrival at 
Lure, had continued the march in the early morning. 
After the above-mentioned crossings and resultant 
delays the 1st Brigade, advanced on Etobon, and there 
at noon it engaged in a fight with a Baden detach- 
ment under the command of General von Degenfeld. 
When the 2nd Brigade also came up, the 1st moved 
forward through the Bois de la Thure, with intent to 
cross the Lisaine above Chagey. Parts of the roads 
had first to be made practicable by the pioneers, involv- 
ing considerable delay. The 2nd Brigade then fol- 
lowed in the dark, having left a detachment in 
observation at Etobon. A fresh collision with some 
Baden detachments determined General Cremer to 
extinguish all the watch-fires. His troops remained 
under arms throughout the hard winter night. 

On the German side, all the troops not on guard 
duty found shelter in the neighbouring villages, the 
pioneers only being kept at work with their pickaxes. 
The actions had cost both sides about 600 men, without 
bringing about any decisive result ; but every day was 
a gain to the defenders. 

General Von Werder, on the heights north of Heri- 
court, had received constant reports regarding the 
course of the fighting from the General Staff officers 
sent out in various directions, by which he was able to 
regulate the abstraction from the reserves of reinforce- 
ments to the fighting line. The diminution of the 


ammunition was a cause of anxiety, since a consign- 
ment announced from Baden had not yet arrived. 

General Bourbaki informed his Government that he 
had taken Montbeliard, it was true without the castle, 
had occupied the villages on the west bank of the 
Lisaine, and that he would attack on the 16th. He 
had learned from General Billot that the German right 
wing extended considerably beyond Mont Vaudois, 
whence he inferred that important reinforcements had 
reached the enemy, whose strength he estimated at 
80,000 to 100,000 men. Nevertheless he anticipated 
a fortunate issue for the outflanking operation by fetch- 
ing a yet wider compass to the left. 

January Ibth. At half-past six on the morning of 
the 16th the Germans again stood to arms in the posi- 
tions of the previous day. 

The French again began the attack with their right 
wing. From the loopholed houses they fired on the 
Landwehr company holding the castle of Montbeliard, 
causing some loss among the latter as well as among 
the gunners. The summons to surrender was disre- 
garded, and the fire of the fortress artillery was 
used to such good purpose against two batteries which 
showed themselves on the neighbouring height, that 
these were obliged to retire, leaving behind them two 
guns. Neither could they advance from a new position 
they had taken up at the farm of Mont Chevis, and 
where they had been reinforced by three batteries, 
against the fire from La Grange Dame, although the 
cannonade continued until dark. No attempt was 
made from Montbeliard to pierce the German line. 

Further to the left the reinforced 1st Division of the 
French XVth Corps advanced on Bethoncourt. At 
one o'clock the fire of its artillery from Mont Chevis 
and Byans obliged a Baden battery to limber up, and 
it was then directed on the village. Large bodies 
had been massed in the neighbouring forest, from 
out which at three o'clock they advanced. General 


Gliimer had meantime despatched reinforcements tc the 
threatened front. Two determined attempts pushed 
close up to the village were frustrated by the destruc- 
tive artillery and rifle fire of the defenders. A third 
attack made with a whole brigade at four o'clock, was 
not permitted even to approach. The losses on the 
French side were considerable, and the snowy field was 
strewn with the fallen. Some unwounded prisoners 
were also taken. 

One Division of the XXIVth French Corps had 
taken up a covered position in the woods behind Byans, 
and as it had already occupied Bussurel on the pre- 
vious day, the German defensive position here in the rear 
of the railway embankment appeared to be threatened 
from the immediate vicinity. The General in command 
therefore sent General Keller with two Baden Fusilier 
battalions and one heavy battery from Brevilliers in 
this direction. The latter joined the two batteries 
which had been engaged on the slope of the hill since 
morning. The fire of five of the enemy's batteries was 
soon silenced by the unerring projectiles from the 
German guns. At noon the French artillery retired 
from Byans, leaving there also two guns, which could 
only be brought away later. The infantry, one Division 
strong, had only threatened to pierce the line, without 
proceeding to carry out the attempt. 

The XXth Corps brought up two Divisions against 
the line Hericourt Luze. A thick fog covered the 
valley, and the early cannonade was at first scarcely 
answered by the Germans. To obtain some insight 
into the intentions of the enemy, two companies 
advanced to the height west of St. Valbert, and surprised 
the enemy moving up from Byans with so rapid a fire 
that he turned back. But soon after, at half-past nine, 
several battalions burst out from Tavey against the 
Mougnot. Two attacks were frustrated by the steady 
resistance of the Landwehr battalions, and a third 
attempt directed against the southern exit from Heri- 


court did not succeed. About four o'clock fresh masses 
of infantry again gathered against the Mougnot, but 
coming under fire from Mont Salamou, they shrank 
from further attacks, and confined themselves till 
evening to an ineffective cannonade. 

At Chagey two Divisions of the XVIIIth Corps 
found themselves face to face with the Germans. They 
did not attempt anything. 

The little spirit with which on January 16th the 
action along the whole front from Montbeliard to 
Chagey was conducted, pointed to the conclusion that 
the French were everywhere awaiting the issue of the 
scheme of out-flanking the German right wing. 

This task now devolved on General Cre'mer. The 
2nd Division of the XVIIIth Corps joined him at 

Two Divisions advanced thence on Chenebier, where 
General von Degenfeld stood with two battalions, two 
batteries, and one squadron. There could be no doubt 
as to the result. At eleven o'clock the Division Pen- 
hoat of the XVIIIth Corps advanced to encompass the 
place on the west and north, and the Division Cremer, 
for the purpose of barring the defenders' line of retreat 
on Belfort, advanced on the south, where the wood of 
La Thure covered his approach. The batteries of both 
Divisions were brought up in the afternoon on its 
northern edge, where they opened fire. After they 
had been in action for two hours, the infantry masses 
advanced from three sides. Under General Cremer's 
personal leading the Baden Fusiliers were driven from 
the southern to the northern part of the village, and 
as his encompassment therein through the wood of 
Montedin was practicable, General von Degenfeld, 
after an obstinate resistance, at three o'clock was 
obliged to take up his retreat in a northerly direction 
through Frahier. Thence he again turned south-east 
and took up a position in front of Chalonvillars, 
about the high-lying windmill of Rougeot, where, 


at six o'clock, he was joined by Colonel Bayer with 
reinforcements. The French did not pursue ; the Divi- 
sion Cremer, which had lost 1000 men, retired, on the 
contrary, into the wood of La Thure, while Penhoat's 
Division confined itself to the occupation of Chenebier. 

Thus the German line of defence was nowhere 
broken on this day ; still, its extreme right wing had 
been driven back to within little more than three miles 
of Belfort. 

The fortress celebrated the success of the French 
arms by a victory-salute, but made no serious sortie on 
the investing forces, weakened as they were by the 
despatch of reinforcements ; and the latter,, on their side, 
quietly continued the construction of batteries. 

General von Werder, anxious above all things to 
re-establish the fighting position on his right wing, 
could however only gather in as a general reserve 
four battalions, four squadrons, and two batteries, 
bringing up these from the least exposed places and 
even from Belfort, to Brevilliers and Mandrevillars. 
At eight o'clock in the evening General Keller was 
ordered to retake Chenebier. On this errand he left 
Mandrevillars with two Baden battalions, reached 
Moulin Rougeot at midnight, and found Frahier already 
occupied by Colonel Bayer. 

January 17 th. On this morning eight battalions, two 
squadrons, and four batteries were assembled in Frahier. 
Three of the battalions advanced on the northern, three 
on the southern part of Chenebier ; the others remained 
in reserve at the windmill, where also three 15 cm. 
cannon were to be stationed. 

At half-past four a.m. the first column, advancing in 
dead silence, surprised an outpost of the enemy's at 
Echevanne, but it was unavoidable that its rifle fire 
should make the French in Chenebier aware of the 
danger by which they were menaced. In the wood 
north of the village, the Germans met with serious 
resistance ; and the danger that in the darkness and 


the dense undergrowth the troops might fall on each 
other obliged their withdrawal to the outer edge of the 

The other column, advancing in the valley of the 
Lisaine, had quickened its pace from Moulin Colin 
as soon as the first shots were heard. The 2nd 
battalion of the 4th Baden Regiment rushed with 
cheers into the southern part of Chenebier, where a 
great confusion ensued. But daybreak showed that 
the heights on the west of the village were strongly 
occupied, and that columns of all arms were approach- 
from Etobon. At 8.30 Colonel Payen had to resolve 
on retirement from the half-conquered village, carry- 
ing with him 400 prisoners, and on taking up a position 
at the Bois de Fery, to cover the road to Belfort 
through Chalonvillars. 

At the same time the right column, strengthened by 
a battalion from the reserve, renewed the attack on the 
wood, and after a struggle which lasted for two hours 
with heavy losses on both sides, at last took possession of 
it. But the attempt to penetrate into the barricaded 
and strongly-defended village was vain. A destructive 
fire met every attack ; a single round of mitrailleuse 
fire, for instance, struck down twenty-one men of the 
Baden assailants. At three o'clock in the afternoon 
General Keller therefore assembled his troops at 
Frahier, where they were supported by four batteries. 

With such inferior strength, and after failing in this 
attempt, it was useless to think of driving back the 
enemy beyond Chenebier ; the only course to pursue was 
to hinder his further advance on Belfort. And this 
object was fully accomplished ; the French did not 
pursue. Instead of out-flanking the German right, 
they seemed chiefly concerned for their own left. 
They defended Chenebier stoutly, but gave up all 
further offensive movements. 

While awaiting the expected success of the out- 
flanking movement, General Bourbaki's intention 
seems to have been merely to occupy the enemy 


along his front and to hold him fast where he stood. 
Even during the night the Germans were alarmed at 
Bethoncourt and before Hericourt, while they, on 
their part, disturbed the French at Bussurel and in 
the Bois de La Thure. The infantry fire went on for 
hours, and numerous detachments had to spend the 
bitter winter's night under arms. In the morning two 
Divisions of the XVIIIth French Corps advanced on 
Chagey and Luze, but their batteries, although sup- 
ported by the artillery of the Army Reserve, they 
could not advance against those of the Germans, and 
repeated attacks on those villages were unsuccessful. 
After one o'clock a cannonade only was maintained 
here. In front of Hericourt also there was an exchange 
of shell fire, and Bussurel, held by the French, was 
set on fire. 

To drive the French out of Montbeliard, the town 
was fired on from La Grange Dame and from the 
Chateau, but ceased when the inhabitants begged for- 
bearance on the assurance that the place was evacuated, 
which subsequently proved not quite true. Ten 
battalions of the French XVth Corps advanced from 
the woods in the forenoon, and tried to push on past 
Montbeliard, but suffered severely from the flanking 
fire of the heavy guns at La Grange Dame, and only 
a handful got into the valley of the Lisaine. The 
western exits from Montbeliard, and the heights imme- 
diately behind it, remained in French possession, but 
the offensive movements ceased at about two in the 

Further to the south, General von Debschitz's posts 
in front of Allaine had easily repulsed the French 

On the German side there was now the conviction 
that no further attack would be attempted. 

The condition of the French troops, not yet inured to 
war, was, in fact, very critical. They had been obliged 
to bivouac in the bitterly cold nights, sometimes under 
arms, and for the most part without food. Their losses 


were not inconsiderable, and the superior officers whom 
the commanding General assembled at three in the after- 
noon, in the neighbourhood of Chagey, expressed their 
objections to a yet more extensive outflanking attempt 
to the left, since supplies would be utterly impossible, 
and the risk would be entailed of the Germans seizing 
the line of the communications of the army through 
Montbeliard. Then came the news that the heads of 
General von Manteuffel's Corps had already reached 
Fontaine-Fran^aise, and were also approaching Gray. 

In these circumstances General Bourbaki con- 
sidered he must resolve on a retreat. He telegraphed 
to the Government that by the advice of his generals, 
and to his deep regret, he had been compelled to take 
up a position further in the rear, and only hoped that 
the enemy might follow him. Hence this experienced 
general could have felt no doubt that his army, its 
attack on the Lisaine, once gone to wreck, could 
only escape from a very critical position by an imme- 
diate retreat. 

January I8th. This morning the Germans were 
under arms in their positions of the previous day, the 
French still in full force before the whole front. It 
was significant that they were busy in the construction 
of earthworks. They had evacuated Montbeliard the 
evening before in disorderly retreat, and now held 
the country west of the place in strength and 

During this day nothing occurred but a cannonade 
and small skirmishes. General Keller having been 
reinforced came up on the right, and as the enemy 
retired to Etobon he was able to re-occupy Chenebier 
in the afternoon. Further north, Colonel von Wil- 
lisen again marched on Ronchamp. In the centre 
Coutenans was taken possession of, and the enemy 
driven out of Byans by artillery fire ; but on the 
other hand the Germans could not yet penetrate the 
belt of forest. On the southern bank of the Allaine 


General von Debschitz's detachments drove the enemy 
back beyond the line Exincourt-Croix. 

In the three days' fighting on the Lisaine the Germans 
lost 1200, the French from 4000 to 5000 men. 

In spite of much necessary detaching, and of the 
threatening proximity of the enemy, the siege-works 
against Belfort were uninterruptedly carried on, and as 
soon as the complement of the investing forces was 
again made up, General von Werder followed the 
retiring French to Etobon, Saulnot and Arcey. 


(January, 1871.) 

In the place of the Ilnd Corps, which had been 
assigned to the German Army of the South, there had 
come up into the Paris front the 1st Bavarian Corps, 
of which Gambetta had said, " The Bavarians no longer 
exist." It had made so good use of its time of rest in 
quarters south of Longjumeau that by the beginning oi 
the New Year it was already restored to a strength of 
17,500 men, with 108 guns. It was positioned on both 
banks of the Seine between the Vlth Prussian Corps 
and the Wiirtemberg Division. The Wiirtembergers 
reached from Ormesson to the Marne, from which river 
the Saxons extended rightward to the Sausset brook, 
so as to narrow the front of the Guard Corps now that 
the Moree was frozen over and afforded no cover. 

The duty of watching so vast a place of arms as 
Paris had made great demands on the endurance of the 

The French had gradually so extended their en- 
trenchments outwards from Villejuif and Bruyeres, 
that they threatened to outflank the Ilnd Bavarian 
Corps. To thwart such a flank attack the Vlth Corps 


was obliged to keep a strong force constantly in 
readiness at L'Hay. 

It need not be said that the supporting troops on 
the south front could nowhere be safe from the fire 
of the heavy fortress guns, nor the foreposts from that 
of the Chassepots. The latter consequently often could 
not be relieved for several days, and the relief was 
usually effected at night. The less the success of the 
French arms in the open field, the more lavish were they 
in the expenditure of ammunition from their works. 
Mont Valerien hurled its giant shells to a distance 
of from four to five miles, but this incessant cannonade, 
to the din of which the ear was soon accustomed, did 
little damage. 

Till Mont Avron was taken, the Germans had only 
been able to oppose field guns to French fortress 
artillery. But early in January their preparations were 
at last so far forward that seventeen batteries, long 
since completed, could be armed with heavy guns against 
the south front of Paris. A battery stood apart on 
the left flank in the park of St. Cloud to the north of 
Sevres ; four were close together on the steep slope 
of the height west of the Chateau Meudon ; five on the 
edge of the plateau of Moulin de la Tour, where the 
mill, serving to guide the aim of the enemy, had 
been blown up. Four more batteries occupied a 
lower position between Fontenay and Bagneux. Two, 
between Chevilly and La Rue, served as protection 
against a flank movement from Villejuif, with the field 
artillery of the Ilnd Bavarian and Vlth Corps. Dress- 
ing-stations were prepared, and intermediate depots 
were supplied with reserve ammunition from the great 
magazines at Villacoublay. 

Under Generals von Kameke l and Prince Hohenlohe 2 

1 Previously commanding the XIV th Infantry Division. 

2 Previously commanding the artillery of the Guard Corps, the well- 


Colonels von Rieff and von Ramm conducted the artil- 
lery attack, General Schulz commanded the engineer 
attack. The men served twenty-four hours in the 
batteries, and then had two days' rest. The officers 
had but one day's rest. 

The heavy guns were brought up on January 3rd, 
by day, into the batteries which lay covered, without 
any interference ; into all the others during the night, 
after the enemy's outposts had been driven in. Thus 
on the morning of the 4th 98 guns were ready to open 
fire : of these 28 were directed on Issy, 28 on Vanves, 
and 18 on Montrouge, 10 against the emplacements 
between the first two forts. But a thick fog hid every 
object, and it was not till January 5th at 8.30 in 
the morning, that the signal shot was given for opening 

January 5th. The enemy promptly replied. There 
were in Fort Valerien 106 guns, in Issy 90, in Vannes 
84, and in Montrouge 52 ; there were about 70 in the 
sectors of the enceinte concerned and at Villejuif, 
1 6-cm. guns for the most part ; so the attack at first 
was heavily taxed. But when at about noon all its 
batteries came into action, the situation gradually 
improved and the greater accuracy of the German fire 
told. Fort Issy had almost entirely ceased firing by two 
o'clock, nine guns were dismounted in Vanves, and its 
garrison had lost thirty men ; only Montrouge still 
replied with vigour. The fire was now taken up by the 
guns of the enceinte, but the forts never again gained 

known military author, best known in England as " Prince Kraft." 
The slight ambiguity in the text may be removed by the more specific 
statement that General von Kameke was Chief Director of the 
Engineer attack, Prince Kraft Chief Director of the Artillery attack 
on Paris as a whole. On the south front Colonel von Kieff commanded 
the siege artillery, Major-General Schulz was Engineer-in-chief. On 
the north and east fronts within the Army of the Meuse Colonels 
Bartsch and Oppermann had the corresponding commands. Colonel 
von Ramm is nowhere mentioned in the official distribution of the 
respective staffs. 


the upper hand of the attack. Some gunboats appear- 
ing about Point du Jour very soon had to retire. The 
field artillery of the Ilnd Bavarian and Vlth Corps 
also co-operated so energetically that no attack was 
attempted from the works at Villejuif, nor was a single 
shot fired on the batteries at Bagneux. A number of 
wall-pieces and long-range Chassepots taken from the 
enemy did such good service that the French abandoned 
more and more of their rayon. The German out- 
posts took possession of the trenches of Clamart, and 
in the course of the night reversed them against the 

Only a couple of 15-cm. shells were thrown into the 
city itself as a serious warning ; the first thing to be done 
was to batter down the outworks, and for some few 
days the firing was exclusively directed on these. A 
stubborn return fire came from Montrouge and from a 
mortar-battery in a very advantageous position behind 
the high railway embankment to the east of Issy ; and 
especially from the south front of the enceinte, nearly 
four and a half miles long in a straight line. Foggy 
weather on some days necessitated the suspension or 
entire cessation of firing. But meanwhile the foreposts 
had advanced to within 815 and 490 yards of Forts 
Issy and Vanves respectively. New batteries were 
constructed further forward, and armed with thirty-six 
guns from those evacuated in rear. 

January 10th. The French garrison meanwhile 
was again displaying great activity. On January 10th 
it succeeded in the dark hours in surprising the weakly- 
held pd&t of Clamart. Three battalions were now 
posted in the place, and a shelter-trench some 1300 
yards long was dug connecting Clamart with Chatillon. 1 

1 A casual reader might perhaps infer from these curt sentences, 
that the French, having possessed themselves by surprise of 
the weak German post of Clamart, placed in it a garrison of 
three battalions. The facts were, that the French battalion was 


January 13th. The Ilnd Army of Paris was still 
outside the city on the east and north fronts from 
Nogent to Aubervillers. After some small alarms, on 
the evening of the 13th strong bodies advanced from 
Courneuve and Drancy against Le Bourget under cover 
of a heavy fire from the forts. But the troops in 
occupation there were on the alert, and being 
soon reinforced by several companies, repulsed the 
attempts of the French to storm it, repeated as they 
were until two o'clock in the morning. 

January l&th. On this day the French made a 
renewed sortie on Clamart with 500 marine infantry 
and several battalions of National Guards. These last 
assembled at the adjacent railway-station with a great 
deal of noise, and their approach was reported about 
midnight. The fight lasted a full hour, and ended 
with the retreat, or rather flight, of the assailants. 
Patrols followed them close up to the trenches of 

The ranges were so great that hitherto the fire from 
the enceinte was not yet subdued. Battery No. 1, lying 
isolated in the Park of St. Cloud, suffered most, being 
fired upon from two bastions of the enceinte, from Point 
du Jour, and from Mont Valerien. The steep cliff 
behind the battery facilitated the aim of the enemy. 
Its parapet was repeatedly shattered, and it was only 
the most zealous devotion which enabled the struggle 
to be continued at this point. The enemy also con- 
centrated a heavy fire on batteries Nos. 19 and 21, 
pushed forward into a position specially threatening 
to Fort Vanves. The long-range fire from the 

scarcely in possession of Clamart when it abandoned village and 
redoubt ; whereupon, to guard against any future attempt on the 
place on the part of the French, the Germans occxipied the village 
with three battalions and the redoubt with two companies ; 
and further to ensure the security of the position, since it was 
one of some importance, connected it with Chatillon in the manner 

A a 


enceinte dropped from a high angle close behind the 
parapet, breaking through the platforms, and inflicting 
serious injuries on a great many gunners. The powder- 
mao-azines blew up in two of the batteries, and both 
the battery commanders and several other superior 
officers were wounded. 

On the east front of Paris, the fifty-eight German 
guns remaining there after the reduction of Mont 
Avron were opposed by 151 of the enemy. The 
former nevertheless soon proved their superiority ; the 
forts only occasionally came into action ; the 
French withdrew their outposts up to the works, and 
altogether vacated the peninsula of St. Maur. By 
degrees the heavy siege-guns could be removed from 
their previous positions to the Moree brook. 

The forts on the south front had meanwhile suffered 
severely. The ruin in Issy was visible to the naked 
eye ; fires broke out there repeatedly, and the powder- 
magazine had to be cleared out at great risk in the 
night of January 16th. Fort Vanves had lost seventy 
men ; it opened fire usually every morning, but soon 
became silent. Montrouge, on the contrary, on some 
days still fired over 500 rounds from eighteen guns. 
But here, too, the casemates no longer afforded 
any shelter, and one of the bastions lay a heap of 

In spite of the steady fire from the enceinte, a 
part of Paris itself was disturbed by the 15-cm. shells. 
An elevation of 30 degrees, obtained by a special con- 
trivance, sent the projectiles into the heart of the city. 
From 300 to 400 shells were fired daily. 

Under the pressure of " public opinion " the Govern- 
ment, after repeated deliberations, decided once more 
on a new enterprise in force, to be directed this time 
against the German batteries about Chatillon. The col- 
lective superior commanders agreed, indeed, that sorties 
could promise no success without the co-operation of 
a relieving army from the outside ; but, on the 8th. 


Gambetta had announced the " victory " of the Army 
of the North at Bapaume, and further had promised 
that both the Armies of the Loire should advance. 
Hereupon General Trochu advised that at least the mo- 
ment should be awaited when the investing army before 
Paris should be weakened by having to detach anew part 
of its strength ; but he was opposed by the other mem- 
bers of the Government, especially by Monsieur Jules 
Favre. That gentleman declared that the Maires of 
Paris were indignant at the bombardment, that the 
representatives of the city must be allowed some in- 
sight into the military situation, and, above all, that 
negotiations ought long since to have been entered into. 

Finally, on January 15th, it was determined that the 
German lines should be broken through at Montretout, 
Garches, and Buzanval. 

While confusion and dissensions thus prevailed in 
Paris, the unity of the German nation, under the 
Emperor William, was solemnly proclaimed at Versailles. 

(January 19th.) 

The sortie was planned to take place on January 
19th. On that day, as we have seen, General Faidherbe 
advanced as far as St. Quentin on the way to Paris, 
and the army which was to make the sortie stood on 
the eastern and northern fronts of the capital. The 
attempt to break through was, however, made in the 
opposite direction. But in fact, the peninsula of 
Gennevilliers was now the only ground on which large 
masses of troops could still be deployed without being 
exposed for hours while they were being assembled, to 
the fire of the German, artillery. 

A a 2 


Two days previously the mobilized National Guards 
had already relieved the three Divisions of the sortie- 
Army from the positions they had held ; and those 
Divisions, collectively 90,000 strong, were to move to 
the attack in three columns simultaneously. General 
Vinoy on the left, supported by the fire from the 
enceinte, was to carry the height of Montretout ; 
General Bellemare in the centre was to push forward 
through Garches ; General Ducrot on the right by way 
of the Chateau of Buzanval. 

The attack was set to begin at six in the morning, but 
blocks occurred at the bridges of Asnieres and Neuilly, 
as no specific orders had been issued for regulating 
the crossing. When at seven o'clock the signal to ad- 
vance was made from Mont Valerien, only the advance 
of General Vinoy's force was ready, the other 
columns had not yet deployed, and the last detach- 
ments tailed back as far as Courbevoix. Before they 
had reached their rendezvous-points the left wing was 
already marching on St. Cloud with fifteen battalions. 

These at first met only isolated posts and patrols, 
eighty-nine men in all, who rushed into the open gorge 
of the redoubt of Montretout, and there made a stand 
for some time ; they then fought their way out with 
great bravery, but some of them were taken prisoners. 
There, and in the northern part of St. Cloud, the 
French promptly prepared for defence. 

The centre column under General Bellemare also 
took possession without difficulty of the height of 
Maison du Cure. 

Not till now, at nearly nine o'clock, did the first sup- 
ports of the German forepost line appear on the scene. 
Till within a short time the observatories had been 
able to report nothing but " thick fog ; " but reports 
from the right and left wings announced that a serious 
attack was threatened on the whole front from St. 
Cloud to Bougival. The Vth Corps was now alarmed, 
and General von Kirchbach betook himself to the 9th 


Division. On the German right, in the park of St. 
Cloud, stood the 17th Brigade ; on the left, behind the 
Porte de Longboyau, the 20th ; the other troops of the 
Corps marched from their quarters in Versailles and 
the villages to its north, to Jardy and Beauregard. 
The Crown Prince ordered six battalions of the Guard 
Landwehr and a Bavarian Brigade to Versailles, and 
himself rode to the Hospice of Brezin ; the King went 
to Marly. 

The French meanwhile had seized the foremost 
houses of Garches, and made their eastward way here 
and there through the breaches in the wall into the 
park of the Chateau of Buzanval. The 5th Jager Bat- 
talion, supported by single companies of the 58th and 
59th Regiments, hurried forward and drove the enemy 
back out of Garches, occupied the cemetery on its north, 
and still reached the advanced post of La Bergerie just 
at the right time. The other bodies under General von 
Bothmer (commanding 17th Brigade, 9th Division, Vth 
Corps), by order from the commanding General, main- 
tained a stationary fight on the skirts of the park of St. 
Cloud, to gain time. About half-past nine they 
repulsed an attack by Bellemare's column, arrested 
the advance of the enemy along the Rue Imperiale of 
St. Cloud, and themselves took the offensive from the 
Grille d'Orleans and the Porte Jaune. Five French 
battalions unsuccessfully assaulted La Bergerie. A 
section of Engineers tried with great devotion to 
demolish the wall surrounding the court, but the 
frozen dynamite did not explode, and the Jagers held 
the position steadfastly throughout the day. 

The attacks of the French had hitherto been under- 
taken without assistance from their artillery. The 
batteries of General Vinoy's advance had been seriously 
delayed by crossing with the centre column, and were 
now detained at Briqueterie to meet the contingency 
of a repulse. General Bellemare's batteries tried to 
get up the slope of the height of Garches, but the 


exhaustion of the teams made it necessary to take up 
a position at Fouilleuse. Meanwhile the batteries of 
the German 9th Division came up by degrees, and 
by noon thirty-six guns had opened fire. In St. Cloud 
a hot street-fight was going on. 

Only General Ducrot on the French right wing had 
opened the battle with his strong force of artillery, 
which came into position on both sides of Rueil. The 
tirailleurs then advanced and made their way through 
the park of Biizanval to its western boundary-wall, but 
were driven back by the 50th Fusilier Regiment which 
had hastened forward. 

At half-past ten the chief attack ensued at this 
point, supported by part of the central column. It 
found only an under-oificer's post at Malmaison, but at 
the eastern exit from Bougival near La Jouchere and 
Porte de Longboyau, it encountered the already re- 
inforced line of posts of the 20th Infantry Brigade. 
General von Schmidt (commanding 10th Infantry 
Division) still held back at Beauregard the reserve of 
the 10th Division. A murderous fire from the well- 
covered German infantry broke the onset of the French, 
and converted it by mid-day into a stationary fire fight, 
in which the German artillery also took part with great 
effect. Two batteries of the 10th Division at St. 
Michel were reinforced by two Guard batteries brought 
up from St. Germain to Louvenciennes ; a third came 
into action near Chatou and forced an armour-plated 
train halted at the railway station north of Rueil to 
retire rapidly to Nanterre. Four batteries of the IVth 
Corps finally opened fire from Carrieres, heedless of the 
fire of Valerien, and shelled the dense masses of hostile 
infantry halted in rear of Rueil. 

At two o'clock the French decided on renewing the 
attack. When two of their batteries had shelled Porte 
de Longboyau a brigade marched on that point, and a 
second on the western wall of the park of the Chateau 
Buzanval ; a third followed in support. Not less bold 


than unsuccessful was the attempt of a section of 
Engineers, one officer and ten men, to blow up part of 
the wall; they all fell together. The attacking 
columns had advanced to within 200 paces, when 
thirteen German companies at the moment met them, 
broke and stopped their rush by pouring fire into them 
at short range, and presently routed the hostile columns 
in disorder, in spite of the devoted exertions of the 

The French, however, still found a strong protection 
in the park-wall, which had been prepared for defence 
with great skill and with the utmost rapidity; and 
the advance of several companies from Brezin and La 
Bergerie on this wall was repulsed with heavy loss. 

But the strength of the French attack was already 
broken. So early as three o'clock a movement of 
retreat was observable in their left wing, and as dusk 
fell the French centre began to withdraw from the 
heights of Maison du Cure. When Colonel von Kothen 
pursued, with a small force, several battalions indeed 
fronted, and even threatened a sharp counter-attack ; 
but timely support arrived from La Bergerie, Garches, 
and Porte Jaune, and, backed by the fire of the bat- 
teries, the pursuit was followed up. The King's Gre- 
nadiers drove back the enemy to the vicinity of 

The Germans, however, had not yet succeeded in 
repossessing themselves of the Montretout redoubt. 
The chief hindrance arose from their having been 
unable to advance through the town of St. Cloud. As, 
however, the possession of this position was indispens- 
able for the protection of the right wing, General von 
Kirchbach gave orders that it was to be retaken either 
that evening or early next morning. 

General von Sandrart (commanding 9th Infantry 
Division) decided on immediate action, and at eight 
that evening five battalions went forward on this duty. 
Only a few French were found in the redoubt and were 


taken prisoners; but in the town the struggle was 
severe. Finally the Germans had to restrict themselves 
to blockading the houses held temporarily by the 
enemy. The French also clung to the outer park- 
wall of Buzanval throughout the night. The Guard 
Landwehr and the Bavarian Brigade were therefore 
assigned quarters in Versailles, to form a strong reserve 
at hand in case of need on the following day. The 
remainder of the troops withdrew into their former 

At half-past five General Trochu had issued the order 
for a retreat. He perceived that the prolongation of 
the struggle could afford no success, especially as the 
National Guards were becoming insubordinate. The 
brave defenders of St. Cloud were forgotten in these 
directions. They did not surrender till the day after, 
when artillery was brought against the houses they 
occupied. And the park- wall was not relinquished 
till the following morning. 

The French attack of January 19th was wrecked even 
before it had reached the main position of the defenders. 
The reserves in readiness on the German side had not 
needed to be brought into action. The Vth Corps 
alone had driven back an enemy of four times its 
own strength. It lost 40 officers and 570 men ; the 
loss of the French in killed and wounded was 145 
officers and 3423 men, besides 44 officers and 458 men 
taken prisoners. 

When the fog lifted at about eleven o'clock on the 
morning of the 20th, their long columns were seen 
retreating on Paris across the peninsula of Genne- 



After the repulse of this last struggle for release on 
the part of the garrison, the extension of the artillery- 
attack to the north front of the defensive position was 
now determined on. The siege guns no longer needed 
against the minor French fortresses and on the Marne 
had been parked for this object at Villiers le Bel. The 
Army of the Meuse had prepared abundant material for 
the construction of batteries, and had collected a waggon 
park of above 600 vehicles. Twelve batteries had already 
been built in the lines between Le Bourget and the Lake 
of Enghien, the arming of which followed, for the most 
part, under cover of night. On January 21st eighty- 
one heavy guns were ready for action, and Colonel 
Bartsch opened fire at nine that morning on Forts La 
Briche, Double Couronne, and de 1'Est. 

The forts, which opposed the attack with 143 heavy 
guns, replied vigorously, and on the following day 
the thick weather prevented the German batteries from 
resuming their fire till the afternoon. But the ground 
in front was abandoned by the French, and the outposts 
of the Guards and IVth Corps took possession of Ville- 
taneuse and Temps Perdu. During the nights the fire 
was directed on St. Denis, with every endeavour to spare 
the Cathedral, and many conflagrations occurred. By 
the 23rd the vigorous prosecution of the cannonade had 
materially subdued the fire of the defence. La Briche 
was wholly silenced, and the other forts only fired 
occasional salvos. During the night of the 25th four 
batteries were advanced to within 1300 and 950 yards 
respectively of the enemy's main works. The engineer 
attack also could now be undertaken, and a series of 
new batteries was constructed, which, however, were 
never used. 


The effect of this bombardment of only six days' 
duration was decisive. The forts had suffered extra- 
ordinarily. In contrast to those of the south front 
they were destitute of the powerful backing of the 
enceinte, and they lacked, too, bomb-proof shelter. 
The provisional bomb-proofs were pierced by shells, 
the powder-magazines were in the greatest danger, 
and the garrisons had nowhere any more cover. The 
inhabitants of St. Denis fled to Paris in crowds, and 
the impaired immunity from storm of the sorely 
battered works was an insuperable obstacle to a longer* 
maintenance of the defence. This northern attack 
cost the Germans one officer and 25 men ; the French 
stated their loss at 180. 

The fire of the forts on the east front wa,s kept 
under, and the Wiirtemberg Field Artillery sufficed to 
prevent the enemy from renewing his foothold on the 
peninsula of St. Maur. 

The south front meanwhile suffered more and more 
from the steady bombardment. The enceinte and the 
sunken mortar batteries behind the ceinture railway 
were still active, but in the forts the barracks were 
reduced to ruins, partly battered in and partly burnt 
down,and the garrisons had to take shelter in the emptied 
powder-magazines. The covered ways could no longer 
be traversed safely, the parapets afforded no pro- 
tection. In Vanves the embrasures were filled up with 
sand-bags ; in the southern curtain of Issy five blocks 
of casemates had been pierced by shells penetrating 
the shielding walls. Even the detached gorge- walls of 
Vanves and Montrouge were destroyed, forty guns 
were dismounted, and seventy gun carriages .wrecked. 

The whole condition of France, political and military, 
and above all the situation in Paris, was such as to 
cause the Government the gravest anxiety. 

Since the return of Monsieur Thiers from his diplo- 
matic tour, it was certain that no mediatory interposi- 


tion by any foreign power could be expected. The 
distress of the capital had become more and more 
severe. Scarcity and high prices had long borne 
heavily on its population ; provisions were exhausted, 
and even the stores of the garrison had been seriously 
encroached on. Fuel was lacking in the lasting 
cold, and petroleum was an inefficient substitute for 
gas. When the long-deferred bombardment of the 
south side of Paris was had recourse to, the people 
took refuge in the cellars or fled to the remoter quarters 
of the city ; and when it was also begun on the 
northern side the inhabitants of St. Denis crowded into 
the capital. 

The great sortie of the 19th had proved a total 
failure, and no relief was to be hoped for from outside 
since Gambetta had sent news of the disaster at Le 
Mans. The Paris Army, of whose inactivity he com- 
plained, was reduced to a third of its original strength 
by cold, sickness, and desertion, and the heart taken 
out of it by repeated miscarriages. Its horses had to 
be slaughtered to provide meat for the inhabitants, and 
General Trochu declared any further offensive move- 
ments to be quite hopeless ; the means even of passive 
resistance were exhausted. 

Hitherto the Government had been able to keep the 
populace in good humour by highly-coloured reports, 
but now the disastrous state of affairs could no longer 
be concealed. All its projects were now denounced. 

There was a large class of people in Paris who were 
but little affected by the general distress. Numbers of 
civilians had been armed for the defence of their 
country and were fed and well paid by the authorities, 
without having too much to do in return. They were 
joined by all the dubious social elements, which found 
their reckoning in the disorganized situation. These 
had been quite satisfied with the condition which the 
4th of September had created, and a little later they 


displayed themselves in the hideous form of the Com- 
mune. Already some popular gatherings had been 
dispersed only by force of arms, and even a part of the 
National Guard were not free from mutinous tendencies. 
The revolutionary clubs, too, supported by the press, 
clamoured for further enterprises, even a sortie en 
masse of all the inhabitants of Paris. Thus the feeble 
Government, dependent as it was on popular favour 
alone, was under pressure from the impossible demands 
of an ignorant mob on the one hand, and, on the 
other, the inexorable force of actual facts. 

There was absolutely no expedient possible but the 
capitulation of the capital ; every delay intensified the 
necessity, and enforced the acceptance of harder terms. 
Unless all the railways were at once thrown open for 
the transport of supplies from a very wide area, the 
horrors of famine would inevitably fall on a population 
of more than two million souls ; and later it might not 
be practicable to cope with the emergency. Yet no 
one dared utter the fatal word " capitulation," no one 
would undertake the responsibility for the inevitable. 

A great council of war was held on the 21st. In it 
all the elder Generals pronounced any further offensive 
measures to be quite impossible. It was proposed that 
a council of the younger officers should also be held, 
but no decision was arrived at. As, however, some one 
must be made answerable for every misfortune, General 
Trochu, originally the most popular member of the 
Government, was dismissed from his position as 
Governor, and the chief military command was en- 
trusted to General Vinoy. General Ducrot resigned 
his command. 

All this did nothing to improve the situation, so on 
the 23rd, Monsieur Jules Favre made his appearance at 
Versailles to negotiate in the first instance for an 

On the German side there was readiness to meet this 
request ; but of course some guarantee had to be forth- 


coming that the capital, after having been reprovisioned, 
would not renew its resistance. The surrender of the 
forts, inclusive of Mont Valerien and the town of St. 
Denis, as well as the disarmament of the enceinte was 
demanded and acceded to. 

Hostilities were to be suspended on the evening of 
the 26th, so far as Paris was concerned, and all supplies 
to be freely given. A general armistice of twenty-one 
days was then to come in force on the 31st of January, 
exclusive, however, of the departments of Doubs, Jura, 
and Cote d'or, and the fortress of Belfort, where for the 
time operations were still being carried on, in which 
both sides were hopeful of success. 

This armistice gave the Government of National 
Defence the time necessary for assembling a freely- 
elected National Assembly at Bordeaux, which should 
decide whether the war should be continued, or on what 
conditions peace should be concluded. The election 
of the deputies was unimpeded and uninfluenced even 
in the parts of the country occupied by the Germans. 

The regular forces of the Paris garrison, troops of 
the line, marines, and Gardes-Mobiles, had to lay down 
their arms at once ; only 12,000 men and the National 
Guard were allowed to retain them for the preservation 
of order inside the city. The troops of the garrison 
were interned there during the armistice ; on its expiry 
they were to be regarded as prisoners. As to their 
subsequent transfer to Germany, where every available 
place was already overflowing with prisoners, the ques- 
tion was postponed in expectation of a probable peace. 

The forts were occupied on the 29th without op- 

There were taken over from the Field Army of Paris 
602 guns, 1,770,000 stand of arms, and above 1000 
ammunition waggons ; from the fortress 1362 heavy 
guns, 1680 gun-carriages, 860 limbers, 3,500,000 cart- 
ridges, 4000 hundred- weight of powder, 200,000 shells, 
and 100,000 bombs. 


The blockade of Paris, which had lasted 132 days, 
was over, and the greater part of the German forces 
which had so long stood fast under its walls, was 
released to end the war in the open field. 


The two Army Corps under General von Manteuffel 
consisted altogether of fifty-six battalions, twenty 
squadrons, and 168 guns. When it arrived at 
Chatillon sur Seine on January 12th, the Ilnd Corps 
was on the right, and the Vllth on the left on an 
extension from Noyers Montigny of about forty-five 
miles. One brigade, under General von Dannenberg, 
which had already several times been in contact with 
portions of the French Army of the Vosges, was pushed 
forward to Vilaines and was charged with the duty of 
covering the right flank. 

Several good roads led from the quarters specified in 
the direction of Dijon ; to Vesoul, on the contrary, 
there were only bad tracks deep in snow over the 
southern slope of the wild plateau of Langres. The 
Commander-in-Chief, nevertheless, chose this direction, 
that he might as soon as possible afford General von 
Werder at least indirect assistance by approaching in 
the rear of the enemy threatening his brother-officer. 

The march had to pass midway between the towns 
of Dijon and Langres, both points strongly occupied by 
the French. Wooded heights and deep ravines sepa- 
rated the columns and precluded mutual support -, each 
body had to provide for its individual safety in every 
direction. The troops had previously undergone severe 
fatigues, and badly as they needed rest not one halt- 
day could be granted, nor could the evil plight of their 


boots and the horses' shoes be in any way remedied. 
On January 14th the march was begun in a thick 
fog and bitter cold, along roads frozen as smooth as 

The maintenance of supplies required special atten- 
tion, and at first the 8th Brigade had to be left behind 
to secure the all-important railway-line Tonnerre 
Nuits Chatillon, until connections could be established 
by way of Epinal. 

On the very first day's march the advanced guard 
of the Vllth Corps had a fight Before Langres. A force 
from the garrison of 15,000 men was driven in on the 
fortress with the loss of a flag, and a detachment had 
to be left behind in observation of the place. Under 
cover of it the Vllth Corps marched past the fortress 
next day, while the Ilnd advanced to the Ignon 

The weather changed during the night of the 15th. 
As a change from fourteen degrees of frost there came 
storm and rain. The water lay on the frozen roads, 
and it was with the greatest difficulty that the Vllth 
Corps reached Prauthoy, and the Ilnd Moloy, closing in 
to the left. 

On the 18th the left wing advanced South-East on 
Frettes and Champlitte, the right assembled at Is sur 
Tille, and its advanced guard, after a march of thirty- 
one miles, reached the bridges at Gray. On the flank 
and rear of the Corps there had been some trivial 
fighting, but the cruel march across the mountains had 
been accomplished, and the cultivated valley of the 
Saone was reached. 

General von Manteuffel had already received news of 
the satisfactory course of the first day's fighting on the 
Lisaine. Later telegrams from General von Werder 
reported that the French Army of the East would 
probably be obliged to retire under difficulties, and the 
German commander at once determined to cut off its 
retreat by advancing to the Doubs below Besan9on. 


The defeated French army was still numerically 
greatly superior to the German force. The troops 'had 
to be again called upon for severe exertions. They 
were required once more to cross a thinly-populated 
mountainous region, where it would be a matter of 
great difficulty to procure food and the shelter needful 
during the bitter winter nights. Strong hostile forces 
had to be left in the rear at Langres, Dijon, and 
Auxonne, and that under very insufficient observation. 
However, in spite of every obstacle the advance in this 
new direction was begun on the 1 9th. 

The first difficulty would have been the crossing of 
the Saone, here very deep and about sixty-six yards 
wide, and full of drifting ice, had not the advanced 
guard of the Ilnd Corps found Gray abandoned by the 
French and both the bridges uninjured ; whereupon it 
occupied the town. The head of the Vllth Corps 
crossed the river by the intact railway-bridge at 
Savayeux, and by a pontoon bridge thrown across by 
the pioneers higher up. 

On the following day both Corps advanced in a 
southerly direction, the Vllth to Gy, the Ilnd to 
Pesmes. Here the latter also now crossed the Ognon 
after driving off by artillery fire a French detach- 
ment which tried to oppose the construction of the 

On the 21st, at half past two, the advanced guard 
of the Ilnd Corps found Dole occupied by the enemy. 
General von Koblinski (commanding 5th Infantry Bri- 
gade) attacked at once. In spite of a violent street-fight 
in which the townspeople took part, the Grenadiers of 
the 2nd Regiment made their way through the town 
and on the further side seized a train of 230 waggons 
of provisions and military necessaries, intended for 
Besan^on and left standing in the railway-station. 

While the Doubs was thus crossed by the Ilnd Corps 
at this point, so the Vllth Corps opened itself a passage 
across the Ognon at Marmay and Pin. 


General von Werder had been instructed to follow 
close on the heels of the retreating enemy, and while 
the latter still maintained his position on the front of the 
XlVth Corps, the 2nd Baden Brigade on the right 
wing had advanced to Etobon, while Colonel von 
Willisen with his twelve squadrons had moved out 
beyond Lure. On the left, Colonel von Zimmermann 
with the East-Prussian Landwehr had driven the 
French out of Ste. Marie. Thsse detachments every- 
where found cast-away arms and portions of equip- 
ment, and hundreds willingly gave themselves up as 

During the next few days General von Werder 
effected a general left-wheel to the south. The right 
wing held Villersexel, and it was the left wing only 
that met the enemy in great masses at L'Isle sur 
le Doubs, and afterwards at Clerval and Baume les 

General Bourbaki had withdrawn from the Lisaine on 
the 18th. The XXIVth Corps only was left on the left 
bank of theDoubs, with orders to defend toward the north 
the denies in the steep mountain-paths of the Lomont 
range eastward of Clerval ; all the other troops withdrew 
between the Doubs and the Ognon, with the Division 
Cremer as rearguard. The Ognon might have formed 
a natural protection for the right flank of the French 
army, and orders had been given for the destruction of 
all the bridges over it ; but we have seen how little 
they had been obeyed. 

On the 21st the XVth and XXth Corps arrived in 
the neighbourhood of Baume les Dames, the XVIIIth 
at Marchaux ; and here, having the stronghold of 
Besan9on close at his back, General Bourbaki desired 
to await for the present the further movements of the 
enemy. In order that his forces should still muster in 
full strength, the commandant of Besam;on was in- 
structed to send forward to Blamont all the battalions 
of Mobiles- Guards he could spare so as to relieve the 

B b 


XXIVth. Corps, Nine battalions of mobilized National 
Guards had actually previously reached Besan?on, which 
might have been substituted as desired, but they came 
armed with Enfield rifles, for which there was no 
ammunition in the fortress. Thus they would there 
only have added to the mouths to be filled, and General 
Holland had simply sent them back again. The Inten- 
dant-General declared it impossible any longer to bring 
up the supplies ordered by him for the maintenance 
of the army ; but what proved decisive was the news 
received this day that not only was the line of the Ognon 
lost, but that the Germans had already crossed the 

Under these circumstances the French Commander- 
iu-Chief determined to continue his retreat on Besan9on 
and there cross to the southern bank of the Doubs, so as 
not to be compelled to give battle with the river in his 
rear. The trains were sent off during the night, but 
above all things the XVth Corps was ordered at 
once to occupy Quingey with a whole division, 
and defend that position to extremity, in order to 
keep open the communications of the Corps with the 
interior. All the other Corps were to concentrate 
round Besa^on, even the XXIVth, which consequently 
gave up the defence of the Lomont passes. 

General Bourbaki reported his situation to the 
Minister of War, who held out hopes of supporting him 
with the portion of the XVth Corps still remaining on 
the Loire. Assistance could have been more quickly 
and effectually given from Dijon. 

The Government had assembled there a very con- 
siderable force to replace the Division Cremer gone to 
join the Army of the East, for the defence of the ancient 
capital of Burgundy and to constitute a point of support 
to the operations of General Bourbaki. A Corps of 
20,000 men was assigned to the local defence ; a very 
inappropriately-named Army of the Vosges, more than 
40,000 strong, was to do duty in the field. But this was 


of little effect in hindering the toilsome advance of the 
Germans over the mountains. The detachments in 
observation allowed themselves to be driven in by 
General von Kettler (commanding 8th Infantry 
Brigade), who followed the movement of both Corps 
on the right flank ; and they retired on Dijon. Colonel 
Bombonnel, stationed at Gray, . urgently begged for 
reinforcements to enable him to defend the passages 
of the Saone ; his applications were refused because 
Dijon was in too great peril, and it was not till the 
Prussians had already crossed the river that " General " 
Garibaldi began to move. 

He set out on the 19th in three columns in the 
direction of Is sur Tille, where there still remained 
only part of the (German) 4th Infantry Division. But 
he advanced little more than four miles. Garibaldi sub- 
sequently confined himself to watching reconnoitring 
parties which advanced to meet him from the heights 
of Messigny, and he then retired on Dijon with his 
troops marching to the strains of the Marseillaise. 

Nevertheless, the enemy was held in too small estima- 
tion in General Manteuffel's headquarter, when General 
von Kettler was simply ordered to go and take Dijon. 

The greatest care had been bestowed in strengthening 
the place. Numerous earthworks, and other erections 
specially constructed for defence protected it to the 
northward ; more especially had Talant and Fontaine 
les Dijon been transformed into two detached forts and 
armed with heavy guns which commanded all the ap- 
proaches on that side. The whole constituted a position 
which could be held against a much larger force than 
the five and a half battalions of the 8th Brigade with 
which General Kettler advanced to the attack. 

This force had reached Turcey and St. Seine, and on 
the 21st advanced in two columns from the west on 
Dijon, still distant some fourteen miles. Major von 

B b 2 


Conta from Is sur Tille on the north was approaching 
with a small reinforcement. The " Franctireurs de la 
Mort,"the "Compagnie de la Revanche," and other volun- 
teer bands as well as Mobiles-Guards were without much 
difficulty driven out of the villages on the way, and 
beyond the deep ravine of the Suzon ; the village of 
Plombieres on the right, which was defended with 
spirit, was stormed, and Daix was carried on the left ; 
but in front of the fortified position of the French, and 
within reach of the fire of their heavy batteries, the bold 
advance was forced to come to a stand. Major von 
Conta had also pushed on with continuous fighting, but 
failed to effect a junction with the brigade before dark. 
General von Kettler, recognizing the overwhelming 
superiority of the French, finally restricted himself 
to repulsing their sorties. 

The French lost seven officers and 430 men in 
prisoners alone ; but the fighting also cost the brigade 
nineteen officers and 322 men. The troops had per- 
formed a severe march in bad weather along heavy 
roads, and had not been able to cook either before or 
after the fight ; the ammunition could only be re- 
plenished from a convoy which was expected next 
day. Nevertheless General von Kettler did not hesitate 
to remain for the night in the positions he had gained 
immediately in front of the enemy, and then to seek 
shelter-quarters in the nearest villages. 

The French allowed him to do so without any serious 
opposition. Inactivity so utter caused General von 
Kettler the suspicion that the main body of the enemy 
had probably withdrawn by Auxonne to the support of 
the Army of the East, and he determined to bring it 
back on Dijon by a renewed attack. 

On the 23rd at eleven o'clock, by a flank march 
along the enemy's front.) after his advanced guard had 
routed a detachment of Gardes-Mobiles, he reached the 
farm of Valmy on the Langres road, and advanced with 
his two batteries against the walled and strongly-held 


village of Pouilly. Here, as was almost always the 
case when engaged in the defence of buildings, the 
French made a stout resistance. The 61st Regiment 
had to storm each house in turn, and it was not till the 
chateau was in flames that the strong body of de- 
fenders who had taken refuge in the upper floors, 

Beyond this place the enemy were found deployed in 
an entrenched position between Talant, which had been 
converted into a fort, and a large factory-building on the 
high-road. Here the advance was checked till the 
remainder of the regiment came up from Valmy, and 
the defenders at various points were driven back on 
the suburb. 

It was evident that the French were still at Dijon in 
full force, and the object of the undertaking had there- 
fore been attained. But now unfortunately a tragic 
episode occurred, for the storming of the factory was ab- 
solutely insisted on a great building, almost impreg- 
nable against infantry unaided. When all the senior 
officers had been killed, a first-lieutenant, whose horse had 
been shot and he himself wounded, took the command 
of the 2nd battalion. No sooner had the 5th company, 
only forty strong, advanced from the neighbouring 
quarry, than it came under a hot fire from all sides. 
The leader was at once wounded, and the sergeant 
who carried the colour fell dead after a few steps ; so 
did the second-lieutenant and the battalion adjutant, 
who had again raised the standard. It was passed 
from hand to hand, carried first by the officers then by 
the men ; every bearer fell. The brave Pomeranians 1 
nevertheless rushed on the building, but there was no 
entrance anywhere on that side, and at last the under- 
officer retreated on the quarry with the remnant of the 

1 Men of the 2nd Battalion, 61st Regiment, 8th Brigade, 4th 
Division, Ilnd Corps, which Corps consisted exclusively of Pomera- 


little band. Here, for the first time, the colour was 
missed. Volunteers went out again in the darkness to 
search for it, but only one man returned unwounded. 
It was not till afterwards that the French found the 
banner, shot to ribbons, in a pool of blood under the dead. 
This was the only German colour lost throughout 
the war, and only thus was this one lost. 

The enemy took prisoners eight officers and 150 men, 
and the brigade sustained a fresh loss of sixteen officers 
and 362 men. It mustered at Pouilly, and remained 
under arms till eight o'clock to meet possible pursuit ; 
only then were quarters taken in the neighbouring 

commission to take Dijon could not be executed ; 
but the bold advance of this weak brigade cowed the 
hostile army into inactivity, so that General von 
Manteuffel was able to pursue his march unopposed. 

He had given to both his corps as their objective the 
enemy's line of retreat south of Besan9on. 

From this fortress there were but few roads to the 
south of France available for troops, through the 
riven and rugged regions of thfe western Jura. The 
most direct connection was by the road and railway to 
Lons le Saulnier, on which Quingey and Byans were 
the most important barriers. Further to the east, but 
by a wide detour, a road runs by Ornans, Salins and 
Champagnole to St. Laurent and Morez. Several 
ways, however, radiate from Besanc^on and converge in 
Pontarlier, by using the passes peculiar to this range, 
called " Cluses," which pierce transversely the moun- 
tain chains and afford the valleys intercommunication. 
From Pontarlier one road only runs past Mouthe, and 
along the Swiss frontier in awkward proximity thereto. 

January 22nd. On this day the advanced guard of 
the 13th Division marched from Audeux to St. Vit, 
and after breaking up the railway and plundering 


a number of loaded waggons, down the riverside to 
Dampierre. On the way four bridges over the Doubs 
were found uninjured and were taken possession of. 
The advanced guard of the 14th Division moved from 
Emagny to observe Besancon. The Ilnd Corps closed on 
Dole and pushed reconnoitring parties across the river. 

January 23rd. The concentric movement of all the 
bodies of the German army was continued. 

General Debschitz, approaching from the north, in 
passing Roches found only the abandoned camping 
ground of the French XXIVth Corps. The 4th Reserve 
Division occupied L'Isle without opposition, and met 
no resistance till it reached Clerval and Baume. 

On the Ognon the Baden Division drove the French 
out of Montbozon. 

In the centre of the army the Vllth Corps pushed 
the advanced guard of the 14th Division forward on 
Dannemarie, near Besan9on. A fight ensued there in 
the form only of a cannonade which lasted till night. 
The 13th Division, again, which had crossed the Doubs 
at Dampierre, advanced on Quingey. 

For want of rolling stock it had been possible to for- 
ward only one French brigade by railway, and the last 
trains were received at the Byans station with Prussian 
shells. These troops were in so bad case that they 
were unable even to place outposts. They abandoned 
Quingey almost without a struggle, and their hurried 
retreat on Besancon and beyond the Loue, stopped the 
advance of reinforcements already on the way. Thus 
800 prisoners and a train of 400 convalescents fell into 
the hands of the Prussian advanced guard, who at 
once broke up the railway at Abbans-dessous. 

On the right wing, the head of the Ilnd Corps 
advanced by the valley of the Loue on the southern 
bank. Several cuttings on this road had been pre- 
pared for defence, but were found undefended. It was 
at Villers Farlay that it first encountered a strong body 
of the enemy. 


On the evening of this day, of the French forces the 
XX th Corps was on the north and the XVIIIth on 
the west of Besancon, at the distance of about four 
miles. Cavalry, artillery and the train were passing 
through the town or encamped on the glacis of the 
fortress. The XXIVth Corps was on the march thither, 
and the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the XVth were in 
possession of the southern bank of the Doubs about 
Baume and Larnod ; but the 1st Division had not suc- 
ceeded in holding Quingey. Thus the most direct and 
important line of communications of the French army 
was cut, and its position, by this fresh mischance, 
seriously compromised. Impracticable projects and 
counsels from Bordeaux poured in freely, but did not 
mend matters; and on the 24th General Bourbaki 
summoned the superior officers to a council of war. 

January 24:th. The Generals declared that they had 
scarcely more than half their men under arms, and 
these were more inclined to fly than to fight. General 
Pallu alone thought he might answer for the men of the 
army reserve. The Intendant-General reported that, 
without trenching on the magazines of the place, the 
supplies in hand would last for four days at most. 
General Billot was in favour of attempting to fight a way 
through to Auxonne, but he declined to take the com- 
mand in chief which was offered him. The exhaustion 
of the troops and their evidently increasing insubordi- 
nation gave little hope of the success of offensive 
operations. So there was no alternative but to retire 
on Pontarlier, as the Commander-in-Chief had pro- 

This recourse, even, was seriously threatened. To 
relieve himself from pressure on the north, General 
Bourbaki ordered the XXIVth Corps to advance 
once more and hold the Lomont passes. On the 
south the XVth was to defend the deep mountain- 
ravine of the Loue, and General Cremer was more 
especially to cover the retreat of the army on the right 


flank, which was most seriously threatened. For this 
difficult task, in addition to his own Division, a Divi- 
sion of the XXth Corps and the army reserve as the 
most trustworthy troops were pla'ced under his com- 
mand. The XVIIIth and the remainder of the XXth 
were to await marching-orders at Besan9on. 

In the German Head-quarter, where of course the 
plans of the French could not be known, various 
possibilities had to be reckoned with. 

If the French remained at Besangon there would be 
no need to attack them there ; the place was not suited 
for the accommodation of a large army, and its supplies 
could not long hold out. That they would again at- 
tempt to advance northwards was scarcely likely ; by 
doing so they would be cutting loose from all their 
resources, and must encounter the larger part of the 
XlVth German Corps on the Ognon. 

An attempt to break through to Dijon seemed more 
possible. But this would be opposed at St. Vit by the 
13th Division, at Pesmes by Colonel von "Willisen's 
detachment, and finally by General von Kettler. 

Thus a retreat on Pontarlier seemed the most likely 
course ; and to hinder their further march from that 
place would in the first instance be the duty of the Ilnd 
Corps, while in the meantime the Vllth was observing 
the enemy massed in Besancon, and opposing his 
sorties on both sides of the river. 

The Commander-in-Chief therefore confined himself 
to giving general directions to his Generals, expressly 
authorizing them to act on their own judgment in 
eventualities which could not be foreseen. 

General von Werder was instructed to advance by 
Marnay, and to place the 14th Division in touch with 
the Baden Division and Von der Goltz's Brigade, and 
then to distribute these bodies along the right bank of 
the Doubs. The 4th Reserve Division restored the 
bridges at L'Isle and Baume, and crossed over to the 
left bank. Colonel von. Willisen was to join the Vllth 



Corps to supply its lack of cavalry. The Ilnd Corps 
was assembled behind Villers Farlay. 

January 25th. Reconnaissances on a large scale were 
arranged for next day. The reconnaissance of the 
Vllth Corps resulted in a sharp fight at Verges. The 
head of the Ilnd Corps met the enemy in front of Salins 
and at Arbois, but found that the latter had not yet 
reached Poligny. 

January 26th. The advanced guard of the Ilnd Corps 
advanced on Salins. The fronts of the high-perched forts 
of St. Andre and Belin near the town, looked toward 
Switzerland, but their fire commanded also on flank 
and rear the plain to the south and west on the enemy's 
line of march. Salins constituted a strong barrier on 
the road to St. Laurent, and as long as it was held 
would cover the line of retreat of columns marching 
from Besancon to Pontarlier. 

The two field-batteries of the advanced guard could, 
of course, do little against the heavy guns of the forts ; 
but the Fusiliers of the 2nd Regiment advanced in 
rushes of small detachments up the narrow ravine, scaled 
its rugged faces, and, supported by the two Grenadier 
battalions, forced their way, about half-past two, into the 
railway-station and suburb of St. Pierre ; but with the 
loss of 3 officers and 109 men. 

Soon after General von Koblinski arrived by way of 
St. Thiebaud with the 42nd Regiment. As in conse- 
quence of the representations of the Mayor the com- 
mandant refrained from bombarding the town, the 
advanced guard was able to take up its quarters therein ; 
the main body of the 3rd Division retreated from under 
the fire of the forts on Mouchard, and the defile remained 
closed again to further penetration. It was necessary 
to turn it by the south. 

In that direction the 4th Division had already marched 
to Arbois, its head further forward up to Pont d'Hery ; 
it found Poligny and Champagnole on the right still 


The Vllth Corps reconnoitred both banks of the 
Doubs, and found the enemy in strong positions at 
Busy and at Verges. 

The 4th Reserve Division advanced along the southern 
bank as far as St. Juan d'Adam, near Besancon ; the 
remainder of the XlVth Corps marched on Etuz and 

General von Kettler's report of the fighting on the 
21st and 23rd determined General von Manteuffel to 
make a renewed attempt on Dijon. He detailed to this 
duty General Hann von Weyhern (commanding 4th 
Infantry Division, Ilnd Corps), placing him in command 
of the 8th Brigade, with Colonel von Willisen's troops 
and Degenfeld's Baden Brigade. 

On the French side, General Bressoles had started on 
the 24th, in obedience to orders, to take renewed posses- 
sion of the passages of the Doubs and the Lomont 
defiles. He had, in the first instance, turned against 
Baume with d' Aries' DivisSS-^but as he did not succeed 
even in driving the German! outposts out of Pont les 
Moulins, he retired to Verce^ In consequence of this, 
on the morning of the 26th, Carr^sDivision, which had 
found the passes of the Lomont unoccilpied7~aisa--moved 
to Pierre Fontaine. Comagny's Division had already 
retreated to Morteau, and was making its way un- 
molested to Pontarlier. 

General Bourbaki was greatly disturbed by this 
failure of his right wing ; more perhaps than was need- 
ful, since, in fact, only one German division stood north 
of him, which at most could drive his rearguard on 
Pontarlier, while the main force of the enemy threatened 
him far more seriously on the west. He nevertheless 
ordered a renewed advance, on the 26th, of the XXIVth 
Corps, which was now to be supported by the XVIIIth. 
But the march through Besangon of the latter, through 
streets covered with ice, took up the whole of the day 
which should have been devoted to the attack, so that 
nothing came of the scheme. 


The Army Reserve had reached Ornans, and stood 
there in readiness. The two other Divisions advanced 
on the road to Salins, but heard while on the march 
that the Germans had just carried that place. They 
then occupied in Deservillers and Villeneuve d'Amont, 
the roads leading from thence to Pontarlier. 

The War Minister, meanwhile, had decisively refused 
permission for the general retreat of the army, without 
any regard to the imperative necessities of the case . 

The military dilettanteism which fancied it could 
direct the movements of the army from Bordeaux is 
characterized in a telegram of the afternoon of the 25th. 
Monsieur de Freycinet gives it as his " firm conviction " 1 
that General Bourbaki, if he would concentrate his 
troops, and, if necessary come to an understanding with 
Garibaldi, would be strong enough to fight his way out, 
" either by Dole, or by Mouchard, or by Gray, or by 
Pontailler" (north of Auxonne). The choice was left 
to him. 

Still more amazing was the further suggestion that 
if indeed the state of the army prohibited a long march, 
it should be embarked on the railway at Chagey, under 
the eye, no doubt, of the pursuing enemy. 

Such communications could only avail to shatter the 
brave commander's self-confidence. The disastrous 
reports which poured in from all sides, and the state 
of the troops which he had seen for himself as the 
XVIIIth Corps marched through the town, crushed his 
last hope and led him to attempt his own life. 

The Commander had of course to bear the blame of 
the total failure of a campaign planned by Freycinet ; 
his dismissal from the command was already on its way. 
General Clinchant was appointed in his stead, and under 
these disastrous circumstances took the command of the 

All the Generals were, no doubt, extremely reluctant 

1 Conviction bien arretee." 


to bring their weary and dispirited troops into serious 
contact with the enemy . Every line of retreat was closely 
threatened, excepting only that on Pontarlier. The 
new Commander-in-Chief had no choice but to carry 
out the plans of his predecessor. He at once ordered 
the further march. He himself proceeded to Pontar)ier. 
In that strong position he hoped to be able at least to 
give the troops a short rest. No large bodies of the 
Germans had been met with so far, the ammunition 
columns had got safely through, and if the denies of 
Vaux, Les Planches, and St. Laurent could be reached 
and held in advance of the enemy there was still a 
possibility of escape to the southwards. 

On the evening of the 27th, the Division Poullet was at 
Levier, nearest to the Germans ; the two other Divisions 
under General Cremer, with the XVth and XXth Corps, 
were echeloned on the road from Ornans to Sombacourt ; 
the XVIIIth Corps alone was on the eastern road 
through Nods. The XXIVth, in a miserable condition, 
had reached Montbenoit with its head at Pontarlier ; 
two Divisions were still in Besangon. 

On this same day General von Fransecky collected 
the main body of the Ilnd Corps at Arbois, and rein- 
forced General du Trossel's posts at Pont d'Hery. 

The XlVth Corps relieved the 14th Division of the 
Vllth Corps at St. Vit ; the latter advanced to the 
right of the 13th Division into the Loue angle, which 
the French had already abandoned. 

On the north, General von Debschitz held Blamont 
and Pont du Roide, while General von Schmeling 
watched BesanQon from St. Juan, and General von der 
Goltz marched on Arbois to form a reserve. 

January 2Sth. Suspecting that the French were 
already on the march by Champagnole on St. Laurent, 
General Fransecky, to cut off from them that line of 
retreat, advanced on the following day in a southerly 
direction with the Ilnd Corps. 

General du Trossel reached Champagnole without 


opposition, and thence sent his cavalry along the road to 
Pontarlier. Lieutenant-Colonel von Guretzky arrived 
at Nozeroy with a squadron of the llth Dragoons, and 
found the place occupied ; but he made prize of fifty- six 
provision-waggons and the military- chest, taking the 
escort prisoners. 

The 5th and 6th Brigades advanced on Poligny and 
Pont du Navoy. 

The 13th Division of the Vllth Corps, having been 
relieved at Quingey by the Baden troops, assembled at 
La Chapelle, while the 14th advanced on De'servillers. 
Its head found no enemy in Bolandoz, although his 
camp-fires were still smouldering; so that the main 
hostile army was not overtaken on that day. 

General Clinchant had in fact moved his Corps closer 
on Pontarlier. But it soon became evident that 
supplies were not procurable for any long stay there. 
General Cremer received orders that night to move 
forward at once to Les Planches and St. Laurent with 
three cavalry regiments standing already on the road 
to Mouthe. The mountain-roads were deep in snow, 
but by forced marching he reached the points designated 
on the following afternoon. The XXIVth Corps and a 
brigade of the Division Poullett followed next day, and 
the latter also occupied with two battalions the village 
of Bonneveaux at the entrance to the defiles of Vaux. 
On the evening of the 28th the rest of the French army 
stood as follows : the XVIIIth Corps was behind the 
Drugeon at Houtaud close before Pontaiiier ; the 1st 
Division of the XVth had advanced over the brook to 
Sombacourt, the 3rd Division was in the town. On 
the left the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the XXth Corps 
held the villages from Chaffois to Frasne, and on the 
right the army reserve occupied Byans. 

General von Manteuffel had ordered for the 29th a 
general advance on Pontarlier, where at last the French 
must certainly be found. 

January 29th. Of the Ilnd Corps General Koblinsky 


had set out from Poligny in the night. When he reached 
Champagnole and had assembled the whole of the 5th 
Brigade he moved forward therefrom ,at about seven 
o'clock. General du Trossel with the 7th Brigade also 
reached Censeau without finding the enemy. 

On the right Colonel von Wedell marched from Pont 
du Navoy on Les Planches with four battalions of the 
6th Brigade. He found only dismounted troopers, 
posts probably left by General Cremer which were 
easily dispersed by the Jagers. Detachments were then 
sent out in different directions, and everywhere met 
with scattered troops ; but at Foncine le Bas the head 
of the XXIVth Corps was found, and Colonel von Wedell 
now blocked the last line of retreat which had re- 
mained to the French. 

With the rest of the Ilnd Corps General von Hart- 
mann marched unopposed on Nozeroy. 

The 14th Division of the Vllth Corps had not re- 
ceived the order to advance on Pontarlier till some- 
what late ; it did not start from Deservillers until noon, 
and only reached Levier at three o'clock, where, at the 
same hour, the head of the 13th Division also arrived 
from Villeneuve d'Amont, the state of the roads having 
greatly delayed its march. 

The advanced guard of three battalions, half a 
squadron, and one battery, had met only stragglers on 
the way, and General von Zastrow commanded it to 
push forward to the Drugeon brook. In the forest on 
the left of the road closed detachments of the enemy 
were retiring on Sombacourt, and Major von Brederlow 
with the 1st battalion of the 77th Regiment turned off 
to attack that village lying on the flank. The 2nd 
company under Captain von Vietinghof dashed into it 
through Sept Fontaines with loud cheers, and was at 
once closely surrounded by strong bodies of the enemy ; 
but the other companies soon came to its assistance. 
The first Division of the XVth French Corps was 
here completely routed without the Army Reserve 


close at hand in Byans having come to its support. 
Fifty officers, including two generals, and 2700 men 
were taken prisoners; ten guns, seven mitrailleuses, 
forty-eight waggons, 31 9 horses and 3500 stand of arms 
fell into the hands of the Hanoverian battalion l which 
was left in occupation of Sombacourt. 

The rest of the advanced guard had meanwhile ap- 
proached Chaffois, where the road opens out from the 
mountains into the wide valley of the Drugeon. That 
village, as we have seen, was occupied by the 2nd 
Division of the XXth Corps. 

Colonel von Cosel passed at once to the attack. 
Three companies of the 53rd Regiment surprised the 
French field-posts and took possession of the first houses 
of the village, but then the whole mass of the French 
XVIIIth Corps barred his further progress. By de- 
grees all the available forces had to join in the 
fighting, and also reinforcements had to be brought up 
from the main body of the 14th Division. The fight 
lasted with great obstinacy for an hour and a half, when 
suddenly the French ceased firing and laid down their 
arms. They claimed that an armistice had already 
been agreed on. 

Monsieur Jules Favre had, in fact, telegraphed to 
Bordeaux at a quarter-past eleven on the night of the 
28th, that an armistice of twenty-one days had been 
concluded, without adding, however, that, with his con- 
sent, the three eastern departments had been excluded 
from its operations. The information, in this imperfect 
form, was transmitted to the civil authorities by the 
Delegation at 12.15 of the 29th ; but Monsieur Freycinet 
did not forward it to the military authorities, whom 
the matter principally concerned, till 3.30 in the 

Thus could General Clinchant in all good faith trans- 

1 The 77th Hanoverian Fusilier Kegiment, of which this was the 
2nd battalion, belonged to the 25th Brigade, 13th Division, Vllth 
(Westphalian) Army Corps. 


mit to General Thornton, in command of the Divisions 
at Chaffois, a message which, as regarded the Army of 
the East, was altogether incorrect. The latter at once 
sent his staff officer to the Prussian advanced guard, 
which was still in action, who demanded the cessation 
of the firing in recognition of the official communication. 

General von Manteuffel had received in Arbois at 
five in the morning, full particulars from the supreme 
Head-quarter of the terms of the armistice, according 
to which the army of the South was to prosecute its 
operations to a final issue. An army order announcing 
this to all the troops was at once sent out, but did not 
reach the Vllth Corps till evening. 

Nothing was known there of any armistice ; however, 
the tidings might be on the way, and General von 
Zastrow granted the temporary cessation of hostilities, 
and even sanctioned the release of his prisoners, but 
without their arms. 

Chaifois, with the exception of a couple of farm- 
steads, remained in possession of the 14th Division, 
which found such quarters there as might be ; the 
13th occupied the villages from Sept Fontaines back 
to Deservillers. 

January 30th. In full confidence in the news from 
the seat of Government, General Clinchant, on the 30th, 
suspended the movements of his army. The newly- 
appointed Commander of the XXIVth Corps, General 
Comagny, also gave up his intended attempt to cut his 
way with 10,000 men at Foncine through Colonel von 
WedelTs weak brigade. The other Corps, after the un- 
fortunate course of the fighting on the previous evening, 
had drawn in close on Pontarlier ; but detachments of 
cavalry were sent out on the roads to Besancon and St. 
Laurent, to establish a line of demarcation and also to 
keep up communications with the fortress and with 
Southern France. 

On receiving the army order at about eleven o'clock, 
General Zastrow gave notice to the enemy in his front 

c c 


of the resumption of hostilities, bat restricted his imme- 
diate demands to the complete evacuation of Chaffois, 
which was complied with. Otherwise the Corps re- 
mained inactive where it' was. 

Of the Ilnd Corps General du Trossel had set out 
very early from Censeau, but the appearance of a French 
flag of truce, and his fear of offending against the law 
of nations, here too occasioned considerable hesitation. 
The forest of Frasne was not clear of the French till even- 
ing. Lieutenant-Colonel von Guretzky made his way 
into the village with quite a small force, and took 
prisoners twelve officers and 1500 men who held it, with 
two colours. The 5th Brigade then also moved up 
into Frasne ; the rest of the Corps occupied the same 
quarters as on the previous day. 

A flag of truce had presented itself at Les Planches, 
but Colonel von Wedell had simply dismissed the bearer. 
The outposts of the XlVth Corps did the same. 

On the north of Pontarlier, General von Schmeling 
advanced to Pierre Fontaine, General von Debschitz 
to Maiche. 

January 31st. Early in the morning of this day the 
French Colonel Varaigne made his appearance at 
General von Manteuffel's head-quarters at Villeneuve, 
with the proposal that a cessation of hostilities for thirty- 
six hours should be agreed upon, till the existing con- 
dition of uncertainty should be removed ; but this 
proposal was refused, as on the German side there were 
no doubts whatsoever. Permission was granted for the 
despatch of an application to Versailles, but it was at the 
same time explained that the movements of the Army 
of the South would not be suspended pending the arrival 
of the answer. 

On this day, however, the Ilnd Army Corps marched 
only to Dompierre on a parallel front with the Vllth, 
its advanced guard pushing forward on the Drugeon to 
Ste. Colombe and La Riviere. Thence, in the evening, 
a company of the Colberg Grenadiers crossed the steep 


mountain ridge and descended on La^Planee, where it 
took 500 prisoners. A right-flank detachment of two 
battalions and one battery under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Liebe marched unopposed up the long pass of Bonne- 
vaux to Vaux, and took prisoners 2 officers and 688 
men. The enemy then abandoned the defile of Granges 
Ste. Marie and retired to St. Antoine in the mountains. 

The Corps had found every road strewn with cast- 
away arms and camp utensils, and had taken in all 
4000 prisoners. 

Of the Vllth Corps, as soon as the enemy had been 
informed of the resumption of hostilities, the 14th Divi- 
sion bent leftward on the Drugeon a,nd up to La Vrine, 
whence a connection was effected with the 4th Reserve 
Division of the XlVth Corps in St. Gorgon. The 13th 
Division advanced to Sept Fontaines. Pontaiiier was 
now completely surrounded, and General von Manteuffel 
fixed February 1st for the general attack thereon. The 
Ilnd Corps was to advance from the south-west, the 
Vllth from the north-west ; General von der Goltz was 
to establish himself in front of Levier in reserve. 

Meanwhile the French Commander-in- Chief had con- 
ceived doubts whether everything was quite right with 
the communications from his Government. All the 
mountain-passes leading to the south were now lost, and 
an escape in that direction was no longer to be hoped for. 
General Clinchant had already sent rearward the baggage 
and ammunition columns, the sick and worn-out men, 
through La Cluse under shelter of the forts of Joux 
and Neuv. And when in the afternoon a message from 
Bordeaux brought the intelligence that in fact the 
Army of the East had been excluded from the armistice, 
the Commander-in-Chief summoned his generals to a 
council of war. Every General present declared that 
he could no longer answer for his troops. General 
Clinchant himself therefore went out the same evening 
to Les Verrieres, to conclude negotiations he had already 
opened, in virtue of which on the following day, 

C c 2 


February 1st, the army was to cross the Swiss frontier 
by three roads. 

To cover this retreat, the Army Reserve was to hold 
Pontarlier till all the baggage-trains should have passed 
La Cluse, while the XVIIIth Corps was to take up a 
covering position between the two forts. Defensive 
works there were at once set about. What of the XVth 
Corps on the way by Morez had failed in getting 
through with the cavalry was to try to cross into 
Switzerland at any available point. 

February 1st. When the advanced guard of the Ilnd 
Corps now advanced on Pontarlier from Ste. Colombe, 
it met with but slight resistance at the railway station. 
The Colberg Grenadiers took possession of the town 
without a struggle, and captured many prisoners, but 
then found the road on the further side entirely blocked 
by guns and waggons. They could pass beyond on 
either side of the road only with difficulty through 
deep snow. Just in front of La Cluse the road winds 
between high rocky precipices into the wide basin of the 
Doubs, completely commanded by the isolated fortalice 
of Joux perched on the solid rock. On debouching into 
the open the foremost companies were received by a hot 
fire. Four guns, dragged up thither with the greatest 
exertions, could make no head against the heavy guns 
of the fort, and the French themselves here passed to 
the attack. 

The Colberg Fusiliers had meanwhile climbed the 
heights to the left, followed by the 2nd Battalion of the 
Regiment and a battalion of the 49th Regiment, which 
drove the French out of the farmsteads on the rifted 
upland. The steep cliff on the right was also scaled, 
several rifle sub-divisions of the 49th climbed the 
acclivity up to La Cluse, and the Colberg Grenadiers 
advanced to the foot of Fort Neuv. 

To take the strong fortalices by storm was obviously 
impossible, and furthermore because of the nature of the 
ground the fugitive enemy could scarcely be overtaken 


in force. Of the French, 23 officers and 1600 men were 
taken prisoners, with 4*)0 loaded waggons; of the 
Germans, 19 officers and 365 men had* fallen, mostly of 
the Colberg Regiment. The troops spent the night on 
the field of the fighting 

As no large force could come into action at La Cluse, 
General von Fransecky had ordered the main body of 
the Corps to march further southward to Ste. Marie. 
To avoid the necessity of crossing the steep chain of 
the Jura, General von Hartmann first betook himself 
to Pontarlier to avail himself of the better roads 
from thence, but his progress was stopped, the fight 
at La Cluse having assumed unexpected proportions. 
The Vllth Corps and the 4th Reserve Division, which 
had reached the Doubs at noon, were equally unable to 
get at the enemy. 

During the whole day the French columns were 
crossing the Swiss frontier. The Army Reserve in 
Pontarlier was at the beginning swept away by the 
tide of baggage-waggons and drivers, and only joined 
the XVIIIth Corps on reaching La Cluse. During the 
night they both followed the general line of retreat. 
Only the cavalry and the 1st Division of the XXIVth 
Corps reached the neighbouring department of 1'Ain 
to the southward, the latter force reduced to a few 
hundred men. There crossed the frontier on to Swiss 
soil some 80,000 Frenchmen. 

General Manteuffel had transferred his headquarters 
to Pontarlier. There, in the course of the night, he 
first heard through Berlin of the convention arranged 
between General Clinchant and Colonel Herzog of the 
Swiss Confederation. 

General von Manteuffel had achieved the important 
success of his three weeks' campaign by hard march- 
ing and constant fighting, although there had been no 
pitched battle since that of the Lisaine. These marches, 
indeed, had been such as none but well-seasoned troops 
could have accomplished under bold and skilful leader- 


ship, under every form of fatigue and hardship, in the 
worst season and through a difficult country. 

Thus two French armies were now prisoners in 
Germany, a third interned in the capital, and the fourth 
disarmed on foreign soil. 


It only remains to cast a backward glance on the ad- 
vance on Dijon, with the conduct of which General Hann 
von Weyhern was charged on January 26th. 

On that same day Garibaldi received instructions 
there to take energetic measures against Dole and 

To support him, the Government, indefatigable in 
the evolution of new forces, was to put in march 15,000 
Gardes-Mobiles under General Crouzat from Lyons to 
Lons le Saulnier, and a XXVIth Corps in course of 
formation at Chatellerault was to be sent from thence 
to Beaune. As it was beyond doubt that General von 
Manteuffel had moved with a strong force on the com- 
munications of the Army of the East, the specific order 
was transmitted on the 27th to the Commander of the 
Army of the Vosges, to leave only from 8000 to 10,000 
men in Dijon and to advance at once with his main 
force beyond Dole. 

But the General was always greatly concerned for the 
safety of Dijon ; he occupied the principal positions on 
the slopes of the Cote d'Or and detached a small force 
to St. Jean de Losne, behind the canal of Bourgogne. 
Of 700 volunteers who had marched on Dole, no trace 
was ever found there. 

Langres had shown more energy ; several and 
often successful attacks on small outpost companies and 


etappen troops had been made from it from time to 

General Hann von Weyhern's purpose of attacking 
Dijon from the south had to be abandoned, because the 
bridge over the Saone at St. Jean de Losne had been 
destroyed. He therefore on the 29th crossed the river 
at Apremont, and on the 31st assembled his detach- 
ments at Arc sur Tille. Here again General Bordone, 
the Chief of the general staff of the Army of the 
Vosges, vainly insisted that an armistice was in force. 
On the 31st General von Kettler inarched with an 
advanced guard on Varois. To cut off the enemy's 
communications with Auxonne a left-flank detachment 
made itself master of the bridge over the Ouche at 
Fauverney. The first shells drove the French back on 
their intrenched position on the line St. Apollinaire 

When the attempt to establish an armistice failed, 
General Bordone determined to evacuate Dijon in the 
course of the night and retire upon assured neutral 
ground. Thus, on February 1st, the head of the ad- 
vanced guard found the position in front of the city 
abandoned, and General von Kettler marched in with- 
out encountering any opposition, just as the last train 
of French troops moved out of the railway-station. 
Sornbernon and Nuits were also occupied on the 2nd. 


Nothing now remained for General von Manteuffel 
but to establish the military occupation of the three 
Departments which he had won, and to guard them 
from without. 

General Pelissier was still in the open field within 
their bounds, having reached Lons le Saulriier with the 


15,000 Gardes-Mobiles who had come up from Lyons 
and had been joined by the battalions sent back 
from Besanyon by General Rolland, by no means an 
insignificant force numerically, but practically of no 
great efficiency. The commanders were recommended 
to retire and avoid further bloodshed ; and they did so, 
as soon as some detachments of the Ilnd German Corps 
advanced on Lons le Saulnier and St. Laurent. Others 
occupied Mouthe and Les Allemands, where were 
found twenty-eight field-guns which had been aban- 
doned by the French. As a measure of precaution, 
the Swiss frontier was watched by eight battalions. 
The fortalices of Salins, the little fortress of Auxonne, 
and Besa^on, were kept under observation from the 
eastward. Although the Department of Haute-Marne 
was included in the armistice, the commandant of 
Langres had refused to recognize the authority of his 
Government. So this place had to be invested, and 
probably besieged. General von der Goltz was 
promptly ordered to advance once more on it, and 
General von Krenski was already on the inarch thither 
with seven battalions, two squadrons and two batteries, 
and a siege train from Longwy, which he had brought 
to capitulate on January 25th, after a bombardment of 
six days' duration. But it was not called into requi- 
sition at Langres. General von Manteuffel aimed at 
no further tactical results ; he was anxious to save his 
troops from further losses, and to afford them all pos- 
sible relief after their exceptional exertions. Not 
till now were the baggage-waggons brought up, even 
those of the superior staff officers having been neces- 
sarily left behind during the advance into the Jura. 
The troops were distributed for the sake of comfort 
in roomy quarters, but in readiness for action at any 
moment, the Ilnd Corps in the Jura, the Vllth in the 
Cote d'Or, the XlVth in the department of the Doubs. 
But the siege of Belfort was still to be vigorously 
carried on. 



Immediately after the battle on the Lisaine the forces 
investing Belfort were increased to 27 battalions, 6 
squadrons, 6 field batteries, 24 companies of fortress 
artillery, and 6 companies of fortress pioneers ; 17,602 
infantry, 4699 artillerymen, and 1166 pioneers, in all 
23,467 men, with 707 horses and 34 field-guns. 

The place was invested on the north and west by 
only a few battalions, and the main force was assembled 
to the south and east. 

On January 20th the eastern batteries opened a 
heavy fire on Perouse. Colonel Denfert concluded that 
an attack was imminent, and placed four battalions of 
his most trusted troops in the village, Avhich had been 
prepared for an obstinate defence. 

At about midnight, two battalions of the 67th Regi- 
ment advanced from Chevremont on the Haut Taillis 
wood without firing a shot. Once inside it there was a 
determined struggle, but the French were driven back 
on the village, and the pioneers immediately intrenched 
the skirt of the wood towards Perouse under a heavy 
fire from the forts. Half an hour later two Landwehr 
battalions advanced from Bessoncourt to the copse on 
the north of the village. They were received with a 
heavy fire, but made their way onward over abatis, 
pits and wire-entanglements, driving the enemy back 
into the quarries. A stationary fight now ensued, but 
the 67th presently renewed the attack, and without 
allowing themselves to be checked by the earthworks 
forced their way into Perouse. They took possession 
of the eastern half of the straggling village at about 

oo o o 

half-past two, and the detachment defending the 
quarries, finding itself threatened, retreated. At five 
o'clock, Colonel Denfert abandoned the western part of 
the village, which was now completely occupied by the 
Germans. The losses on the German side were 8 officers 


and 178 men ; the French left 5 officers and 93 men 

January 2lst to 21th. The next day the construction 
of the first parallel was undertaken, extending about 
2000 yards from Donjoutin to Haut Taillis. Five bat- 
talions and two companies of Sappers were employed in 
this work, and were undisturbed by the French ; but 
the rocky soil prevented its being constructed of the 
prescribed width. 

General von Tresckow considered that he might thus 
early succeed in carrying both the Perches forts by a 
determined assault. Two half redoubts with ditches 
more than three yards deep cut perpendicularly in the 
solid rock, casemated traverses and bomb-proof block- 
houses in the gorge, afforded protection to the defenders. 
Each work was armed with seven 12-cm. cannon, and 
they were connected by trenches, behind which reserves 
were in readiness. On the right flank this position was 
protected by a battalion and a sortie-battery in Le 
Fourneau ; on the left the adjacent wood was cleared, 
cut down to a distance of 650 yards, and wire-entangle- 
ments between the stumps formed an almost impene- 
trable obstacle. In front the gentle slope of the ridge 
was under the cross-fire of the two forts. 

When on the previous evening of the 26th the con- 
struction of the parallel was sufficiently advanced to 
allow of its being occupied by larger detachments, the 
assault was fixed for the 27th. Two columns, each of 
one battalion, one company of Sappers, and two guns, 
passed to the attack at daybreak on that morning. Two 
companies of Schneidemiihl's Landwehr Battalion ad- 
vanced against the front of Basses Perches and threw 
themselves on the ground within from 65 to 110 yards 
of the work. A sub-division of sharp-shooters and a few 
pioneers reached the ditch and unhesitatingly leaped 
in ; the two other (Landwehr) companies, going round 
the fort by the left, got into its rear, and here too the 
men jumped into the ditch of the gorge. But the 


French who had been driven out of their shelter- 
trenches were now assembled, and the battalion from 
Le Fourneau came up. All the forts of the place 
opened fire on the bare and unprotected space in 
front of the parallel, and an attempt of reinforcements 
to cross it failed. The 7th Company of the Landwehr 
Battalion was surrounded by greatly superior numbers, 
and after a brave struggle was for the most part made 
captive. Most of the men in the ditch were still able 
to escape. 

The advance of the right column against Hautes- 
Perches also failed. It had to cross 1100 yards of open 
ground. The encompassment of the fort was attempted, 
but it was impossible to force through the abatis and 
other obstacles under the destructive fire of the enemy. 

This abortive attempt cost 10 officers and 427 men; 
and the slower process of an engineer attack had to be 

January 2Sth to February IbtJi. As the ap- 
proaches to the forts progressed the flying sap could be 
carried forward about 330 yards every night unop- 
posed by the enemy. In spite of all the difficulties 
caused by the nature of the soil, on February 1st 
the second parallel was thrown up at half distance 
from the Perches. 

As the Fort of la Justice was a special hindrance to 
the operations, two new batteries had to be constructed 
to the east of Perouse against it. Four mortar- 
batteries on the flanks of the parallel now directed their 
fire on the Perches at very short range. Three bat- 
teries were also constructed in the Bois des Perches to 
fire on the citadel, and one on the skirt of the wood 
near Bavilliers against the defences of the city. Hence- 
forward 1500 shells a day were fired on the fortress 
and its outworks. 

But further the prosecution of the attack became more 
and more difficult. The withdrawal of General Debschitz 
had seriously reduced the working strength of the 


besieging force. There were only nine battalions for 
the exhausting service in the trenches. Specially serious 
was the heavy loss in pioneers, and two fresh com- 
panies had to be brought up from Strasburg. The 
bright moonlight illuminating the fields of snow far 
and wide made it impossible to proceed with the flying 
saps. Sap-rollers had to be used ; the heads of the 
saps had to be protected by sandbags and the sides by 
gabions, while the earth for filling had often to be 
brought from a long distance in the rear. 

On the head of all this, on February 3rd, a thaw set 
in, and the water from the heights filled the trenches, 
so that all communication had to be carried on across 
the open ground. Torrents of rain damaged the 
finished works ; the parapet of the first parallel gave 
way altogether in places, and the banquette was washed 
away. The bottomless tracks made the arming of the 
batteries unspeakably difficult, and the teams of the 
columns and field artillery had to be employed in 
bringing up the ammunition. Many guns had become 
useless by overheating, while the enemy understood, by 
rapidly running out their guns, firing, and then run- 
ning them back again, how to interrupt the work. Not 
merely was it necessary to continue the shelling of the 
Perches during the night, but a brisk rifle fire had 
to be kept up against them. Only now and then 
did the batteries newly placed in the parallels succeed 
in entirely silencing the guns of Hautes Perches. 
Epaulments had to be erected against Fort Bellevue 
and the defences of the railway-station, and Fort 
des Barres resumed activity. That under such ex- 
ertions and the abominable weather the health of 
the troops suffered severely, need not be said ; the 
battalions could often only muster 300 men for 

Meanwhile, however, the artillery of the attack had 
unquestionably become very much superior to that of 
the defence, and, in spite of every obstacle, the saps 


were pushed on to the edge of the ditch of Les 

On February 8th, at one in the afternoon, Captain 
Roese had gabions flung into the ditch of Hautes 
Perches, sprang into it with five sappers, and rapidly 
scaled the parapet by the steps hewn in the scarp. He 
was immediately followed by the trench guard, but only 
a few of the French were surprised in the casemated 
traverses. The situation of the garrison of the forts had 
in fact become extremely difficult. Ammunition had to 
be brought up under the enemy's fire, water could only 
be had from the pond at Vernier, and cooking could 
only be done inside the works. Colonel Denfert had 
already given orders to bury the material. Unseen 
by the besiegers the guns of which the carriages 
could still be moved had been withdrawn, and only 
one company left in each fort, which in case of a 
surprise was to fire and fly. Nothing was to be found 
in the abandoned work but wrecked gun-carriages and 
four damaged guns. This fort was at once reversed 
so that its front faced the fortress, but at three o'clock 
the latter opened so heavy a fire on the lost positions 
that the working parties had to take shelter in the 

The garrison in Basses Perches attempted some 
resistance, but under cover of a reserve it soon 
retired to Le Fourneau, leaving five guns and much 
shattered material. Here also the fire of the place 
at first compelled the working parties to break off, but 
four 15-cm. mortars were at length brought into the 
fort, and two 9 -cm. guns were placed on the spur of 
the hill to the westward, which directed their fire on 
Le Fourneau and Bellevue. During the night of the 
9th the two works were connected by a shelter- 
trench 680 yards long, and thus the third parallel was 

The position was now such that the attack could 
immediately be directed on the citadel, and on it the 


batteries in the Bois des Perches and presently those 
in the second parallel opened fire. Moitte, Justice, 
and Bellevue were shelled simultaneously. General 
von Debschitz had returned, so that the investing 
corps was thus again brought up to its full strength, 
and all the conditions were improved by the return of 
the frost. By the 13th ninety-seven guns were ready 
in the third parallel. 

The town had suffered terribly from the prolonged 
bombardment. Nearly all the buildings were damaged, 
fifteen completely burnt down, and in the adjoining 
villages 164 houses had been destroyed by the defenders 
themselves. The fortifications showed not less visible 
indications of serious damage, particularly the citadel. 
The hewn-stone facing of its front- wall had crumbled 
into the ditch. Half of the mantleted embrasures had 
been shattered, the expense powder magazines had been 
blown up, and a number of casemated traverses pierced. 
The guns in the upper batteries could only be reached 
by ladders. The garrison, of its original strength of 
372 oificers and 17,322 men, had lost 32 officers and 
4713 men, besides 336 citizens. The place was no 
longer tenable ; besides there now came the news that 
the army from which alone relief was to be expected, 
had laid down its arms. 

Under these circumstances General von Tresckow 
summoned the commandant after a defence so brave to 
surrender the fortress, with free withdrawal for the 
garrison, this concession having the sanction of his 
Majesty. The French Government itself authorized 
the commandant to accept these terms. Colonel 
Denfert, however, insisted that he must be given a 
more direct order. To procure this an officer was 
sent to Basle, pending whose return there was a pro- 
visional armistice. 

On the 15th a convention was signed at Versailles, 
which extended the armistice to the three depart- 
ments which till then had been excluded from it, and 


also to Belfort ; but the 1st article demanded the 
surrender of that place. 

After the conclusion of the definitive treaty, the 
garrison, in the course of the 17th and 18th, with its 
arms and trains, left the precincts of the fortress and 
withdrew by way of L'Isle sur Doubs and St. Hippolvte 
into the country occupied by French troops. The 
inarch was effected in detachments of 1000 men at 
intervals of 5 km., the last of which Colonel Denfert 
accompanied. The supplies which remained in the for- 
tress were conveyed in rear of the departing troops in 
150 Prussian proviant waggons. At 3 o'clock in the 
afternoon of February 18th Lieutenant -General von 
Tresckow entered the place at the head of detachments 
from all the troops of the investing corps. 

There were found 341 guns, of which 56 were 
useless, 356 gun-carriages^^ of which 119 were shot to 
pieces, and 22,000 stand of arms, besides considerable 
supplies of ammunition and provisions. 

The siege had cost the Germans 88 officers and 


2049 men, 245 of whom were released from imprison- 
ment by the capitulation. Immediately was set about 
the work of restoring and arming the fortress, and of 
the levelling of the siege works. 


On the basis of the agreement of January 28th a line 
of demarcation was drawn, from which both parties 
were to withdraw their outposts to a distance of 10 km. 
The line ran south from the mouth of the Seine as far 
as the Sarthe, crossed the Loire at Saumur, followed 
the Creuse, turned eastward past Vierzon, Clamecy and 


Chagny, and then met the Swiss frontier, after bending 
to the north of Chalons sur Saone and south of Lons le 
Saulnier and St. Laurent. The two departments of 
Pas de Calais and du Nord, as well as the promontory 
of Havre, were particularly excluded. 

The fortresses still held by French troops in the 
districts occupied by the Germans were assigned a 
rayon in proportion to their importance. 

In carrying out the details of the agreement a liberal 
interpretation was in most instances allowed. The 
arrangements had the sanction of those members of the 
Government of National Defence who were in Paris ; 
while the delegates at Bordeaux, who had hitherto 
conducted the war, at first held aloof, and indeed, as 
yet had not been made acquainted with the detailed 
conditions. Gambetta, it is true, allowed the suspension 
of operations, but could not give the commanders more 
precise instructions. 

General Faidherbe was thus without orders with 
regard to the evacuation of Dieppe and Abbeville. 
General von Goeben, however, refrained from taking 
immediate possession of these places. On the west of 
the Seine, the Grand Duke was forced to proclaim that 
the non-recognition of the line of demarcation would 
be followed by an immediate recommencement of 

The commandant of the garrison at Langres also 
raised difficulties, and only withdrew within his rayon on 
February 7th, as did General Holland later at Besanr;on. 
Auxonne was at first unwilling to give up control of the 
railway. \Bitsch, which had not been worth the trouble 
of a serious attack, repudiated the convention ; the 
investment had therefore to be strengthened, and only 
in March, wh^n threatened with a determined attack, 
did the garrison abandon its peak of rock. 

Nor did the volunteers acquiesce at once, and there 
were collisions with them at various points. But after 
the conditions were finally settled, no more serious 


quarrels occurred between the inhabitants and the 
German troops during the whole course of the 

All the German corps before Paris occupied the forts 
lying in their front, more specifically the Vth took over 
Mont Valerien, and the IVth the town of St. Denis. 
Between the forts and the enceinte there lay a neutral 
zone, which civilians were allowed to cross only by 
specified roads placed under control of German exa- 
mining troops. 

Apprehensive as it was of the indignation of the 
populace, the French Government had hesitated so long 
to utter the word " capitulation," that now, even with 
the resumption of free communication, Paris was 
threatened with an outbreak of actual famine. The 
superfluous stores in the German magazines were 
therefore placed at the disposal of its authorities. The 
respective chief-Commands, the local Governments- 
General, and the Etappen-Inspections received in- 
structions to place no difficulties in the way of the 
repair of the railways and roads in their districts, and 
the French authorities were even allowed to make use, 
under German supervision, of the repaired railroads 
which the invaders used to supply their own army. 
Nevertheless, the first provision-train only arrived in 
Paris on February 3rd, and it was the middle of the 
month before the French had succeeded in remedying 
the prevalent distress in the capital. 

The German prisoners were at once given up. The 
surrender of arms and war-material followed by degrees, 
also the payment of the 200 million francs war-con- 
tribution imposed on the city. 

But it was still doubtful if the party of " war to the 
bitter end " in Bordeaux would fall in with the arrange- 
ments made by the Paris Government, and whether the 
National Assembly about to be convened would finally 
ratify the conditions of peace imposed by the conquerors. 
The necessary measures in case of the resumption of 

D d 


hostilities were therefore taken on the French as well as 
on the German side. 

The distribution of the French forces at the establish- 
ment of the armistice was not favourable. 

By General Faidherbe's advice the Army of the 
North was wholly disbanded, as being too weak to face 
the strength opposing it. After the XXIInd Corps 
had been transported by sea to Cherbourg, the Army 
of Brittany under General de Colomb was composed of 
it, the XXVIIth and part of the XlXth Corps, and, 
including Lipowski's volunteers, Cathelineau's and. other 
details, its strength was some 150,000 men. General 
Loysel with 30,000 ill-armed and raw Gardes-Mobiles 
remained in the trenches of Havre. 

General Chanzy, after his retreat on Mayenne, had 
made a movement to the left, preparatory to a new 
operation with the Ilncl Army of the Loire from the 
Caen base, which, however, was never carried out. 
The XVIIIth, XXIst, XVIth, and XXVIth Corps stood 
between the lower Loire and the Cher from Angers to 
Chateauroux, in a strength of about 160,000 men strong, 
the XXVth under General Pourcet was at Bourges, 
and General de Pointe's Corps at Nevers. The Army 
of the Vosges had withdrawn southward of Chalons sur 
Saone, and the remains of the Army of the East 
assembled under General Cremer at Chambery as the 
XXIVth Corps. 

The total of all the field-troops amounted to 534,452 
men* The volunteers, even those most to be relied on, 
were Dismissed, and the National Guard was designated 
as for the present " incapable of rendering any military 
service.*^ In the depots, the camps of instruction, and 
in Algier^ there were still 354,000 men, and 132,000 
recruits were on the lists as the contingent for 1871, 
but had not yet been called up. 

In case the war should be persisted in, a plan for 
limiting it to the defensive in the south-east of France 
was under consideration, for which, however, according 


to the report sent on February 8th by the Committee 
of Inquiry to the National Assembly, scarcely more 
than 252,000 men in fighting condition were available. 
The fleet, besides, had given up so considerable a 
number of its men and guns for service on land, that 
it was no longer able for any great undertaking a't 

On the German side the first consideration was to 
reinforce the troops to their full war- strength, and 
replenish the magazines. 

The forts round Paris were at once armed on their 
fronts facing the enceinte. In and between these were 
680 guns, 145 of which were captured French pieces ; 
more than enough to keep the restless population under 
control. A part of the forces previously occupied 
in the siege, being no longer required, were removed, 
in order that the remaining troops should have better 
accommodation. Besides, it seemed desirable to 
strengthen the Ilnd Army, which had in its front the 
enemy's principal force. In consequence the IVth 
Corps marched to Nogent le Rotrou, the Vth to Orleans, 
and the IXth, relieved there, to Vendome ; so that 
now the quarters of this army extended from Alen9on 
to Tours, and up the Loire as far as Gien and Auxerre. 
The 1st Army was in the north with the VHIth 
Corps on the Somme, and the 1st on both sides of the 
Lower Seine ; in the south the Army of the South 
occupied the line of demarcation from Baume to 
Switzerland, and the country in the rear. 

At the end of February the German field-army on 
French soil consisted of : 

Infantry . 464,221 men with 1674 guns. 

Cavalry . 55,562 horses. 
Troops in garrison : 

Infantry . 105,272 men with 68 guns. 

Cavalry .. 5681 horses. 

Total . 630,736 men and 1742 guns. 
D d 2 


Reserve forces remaining in Germany : 

3288 officers. 
204,684 men. 
26,603 horses. 

Arrangements were so made, that in case of a recom- 
mencement of hostilities, the strongest resistance could 
be made at all points. The armistice had nearly 
reached its end, and the troops had already been more 
closely collected to be ready to take the initiative of 
the offensive towards the south, when the Chancellor 
of the Confederation announced the extension of the 
armistice to the 24th, which was again prolonged to 
midnight on the 26th. 

Considerable difficulties had arisen from the differ- 
ences of opinion with regard to the election of the 
National Assembly, between the Government in Paris 
and the Delegation at Bordeaux. The Germans wished 
to see carried out the choice, not of a party, but of the 
whole nation, expressed by a free suffrage. But Gam- 
betta had ruled, in violation of the conditions of the 
armistice, that all who after December 2nd, 1851, had 
held any position in the Imperial Government should 
be ineligible to vote. It was not till the Parisian 
Government had obtained a majority by sending several 
of its members to Bordeaux, and after the dictator had 
resigned on February 6th, that the elections proceeded 
quickly and unhindered. 

The deputies duly assembled in Bordeaux by the 
12th, the appointed day. M. Thiers was elected chief 
of the executive, and went to Paris on the 19th with 
Jules Favre, determined to end the aimless war at any 

Negotiations for peace were opened, and after five 
days' vigorous discussion, when at last on the German 
side the concession to restore Belfort was made, the 
preliminaries were signed on the afternoon of the 26th. 

France bound herself to give up in favour of Germany 
a part of Lorraine, and the province of Alsace with the 


exception of Belfort, and also to pay a war indemnity 
of five milliards of francs. 

The evacuation of the districts in occupation of the 
German armies was to begin immediately on the ratifi- 
cation of the treaty, and be continued by degrees in 
proportion as the money was paid. While the German 
troops remained on French soil they were to be main- 
tained at the charge of the country. On the other 
hand all requisitioning on the part of the Germans was 
to cease. Immediately on the first instalment of 
evacuation the French forces were to retire behind the 
Loire, with the exception of 20,000 men in Paris and 
the necessary garrisons in the fortresses. . 

After the ratification of these preliminaries, further 
terms were to be discussed in Brussels, and the return 
of the French prisoners would begin. The armistice 
was prolonged to March 12th ; but it was in the option 
of either of the belligerent powers to end it after March 
3rd by giving three days' notice. 

Finally, it was stipulated that the German Army 
should have the satisfaction of marching into Paris, and 
remaining there till the ratification of the treaty ; but 
would be restricted to the section of the city from Point 
du Jour to the Rue du Faubourg St. Honore. The 
entry was made on March 1st, after a parade at Long- 
champs before his Majesty of 30,000 men, consisting 
of 11,000 of the Vlth, 11,000 of the Ilnd Bavarian, 
and 8000 of the Xlth Army Corps. On the 3rd and 
5th of March this force was to have been relieved by 
successive bodies of the same strength, but M. Thiers 
succeeded by March 1st in getting the National 
Assembly at Bordeaux to accept the treaty, after the 
deposition of the Napoleonic dynasty had been decreed. 
The exchange of ratifications took place in the afternoon 
of the 2nd, and on the 3rd the first instalment of troops 
of occupation marched out of Paris back into its 



By the Illrd Article, the whole territory between 
the Seine and the Loire, excepting Paris, was to be 
evacuated with as little delay as possible by the troops 
of both sides ; the right bank of the former river, on 
the other hand, was only to be cleared on the conclusion 
of the definitive treaty of peace. Even then the six 
eastern departments were still to remain in German 
possession as a pledge for the last three milliards ; not, 
however, to be occupied by more than 50,000 men. 

The marching directions were drawn up in the 
supreme Headquarter, with a view as well to the com- 
fort of the troops as to the reconstitution of the 
original order of battle, and the possibility of rapid 
assembly in case of need. 

The forces detailed for permanent occupation of the 
ceded provinces marched thither at once. 

The Reserve and Landwehr troops at home were to 
be disbanded, as well as the Baden Division, which, how- 
ever, for the present was to remain there as a mobilized 
force. The Governments-General in Lorraine, Rheims, 
and Versailles were to be done away with, and their 
powers taken over by the local Commanding-Generals. 
In the maintenance of order in the rear of the army, 
the Vlth and Xllth Corps, as well as the Wiirtemberg 
Field Division, were placed at the direct disposition of 
the supreme Headquarter. 

By March 31st the Army had taken full possession 
of the new territory assigned to it, bounded on the 
west by the course of the Seine from its source to its 

The 1st Army was in the departments of Seine- 
Inferieure and Somme, the Ilnd in front of Paris in 
the departments of Oise and Seine et Marne, the Illrd 
in the departments of Aube and Haute Marne, the 
Army of the South in the districts most lately hostile. 
The forts of Paris on the left bank were given up to 


the French authorities ; the siege park and the cap- 
tured war material had been removed. In considera- 
tion of the desire of the French Government that the 
National Assembly might be allowed as early 
as possible to sit at Versailles, the supreme Head- 
quarter was removed to Ferrieres, even sooner than 
had been agreed. On March 15th his Majesty left 
Nancy for Berlin. 

All the troops that were left before Paris were 
placed under the command of the Crown Prince of 
Saxony, and General von Manteuffel was nominated 
Commander of the Army of Occupation. 

At the moment when France had freed herself by a 
heavy sacrifice, an enemy of the most dangerous 
character appeared from within, in the Commune of 

The 40,000 men left there proved themselves unequal 
to the task of keeping the rebellious agitation under 
control ; which even during the siege had on several 
occasions betrayed its existence, and now actually 
broke out in open civil war. Large masses of people, 
fraternizing with the National and Mobile Guards, pos- 
sessed themselves of the guns and set themselves in 
armed resistance to the Government. M. Thiers had 
already, by March 18th, summoned to Versailles such 
regiments as could still be trusted, to withdraw them 
from the disquieting influence of party impulses, and 
for the protection of the National Assembly there. 
The French capital was a prey to revolution, and now 
became an object of pillage by French troops. 

The Germans could easily have put a speedy end to 
the matter, but what Government could allow its rights 
to be vindicated by foreign bayonets ? The German 
Commanders consequently limited themselves to for- 
bidding at least within their own districts any move- 
ment of disturbance, and to preventing all further 
ingress into Paris from outside. The disarmament 
operations which had commenced were interrupted ; 
the troops of the Illrd Army were drawn closer to the 


forts, and the outposts were replaced along the line 
of demarcation, whereon 200,000 men could now 
be collected within two days. The authorities in 
Paris were also warned that any attempt to arm 
the fronts facing the Germans would be followed 
by the immediate bombardment of the city. The 
insurgents however, were fully occupied in destroying 
and burning, and in executing their commanders in the 
interior of Paris. They did not turn against their 
foreign enemy, but against the Government chosen by 
the nation, and prepared for an attack on Versailles. 

The high officers of State there, bound by the 
conditions of the armistice treaty, were almost defence- 
less ; meanwhile the Germans were prepared and 
willing to allow a reinforcement of 80,000 French 
troops to be moved up from Besan9on, Auxerre and 
Cambrai, the transport of whom would be furthered by 
the German troops in occupation of the districts 
through which they would have to pass. 

The release of the prisoners on the other hand was 
temporarily restricted. These were, for the most part, 
disciplined regulars ; but they might not improb- 
ably join the hostile party, so in the first instance only 
20,000 troops of the line were set free. 

On April 4th General MacMahon advanced with 
the Government troops against Paris, and entered 
the city on the 21st. As he was then engaged for 
eight days in barricade fighting, and as great bands of 
fugitives threatened to break through the German 
lines, the Illrd Army was ordered to take closer 
order. The outposts advanced almost to the gates of 
the city, and barred all communication through them 
until, at the end of the month, Paris was again in the 
control of the French Government. 

In the meantime, the negotiations commenced in 
Brussels and continued in Frankfort were making 
rapid progress, and on May 10th the definitive treaty 
of peace based on the preliminaries was signed. The 


mutual ratification followed within the appointed time 
of ten days. 

Thus a war, carried on with such a vast expenditure 
of force on both sides, was brought to an end by 
incessant and restless energy in the short period of 
seven months. 

Even in the first four weeks eight battles were 
fought, under which the French Empire crumbled, and 
the French Army was swept from the field. 

Fresh forces, numerous but incompetent, equalized 
the original numerical superiority of the Germans, 
and twelve more battles needed to be fought, to safe- 
guard the decisive siege of the enemy's capital. 

Twenty fortified places were taken, and not a single 
day passed on which there was not fighting somewhere, 
on a larger or smaller scale. 

The war cost the Germans heavy sacrifice ; they 
lost 6247 officers, 123,453 men, 1 colour, 6 guns. 

The total losses of the French were incalculable ; in 
prisoners only they amounted to : 
In Germany . . 11,860 officers, 371,981 men. 
In Paris . . . 7,456 241,686 
Disarmed in Switzer- 
land . . . 2,192 88,381 

21,508 officers, 702,048 men. 

There were captured 107 colours and eagles, 1915 
field-guns, 5526 fortress guns. 

Strasburg and Metz, which had been alienated from 
the Fatherland in a time of weakness, were recovered, 
and the German Empire had risen anew. 





IN the accounts of historical events, as they are handed down to posterity, 
mistakes assume the form of legends which it is not always easy sub- 
sequently to disprove. 

Among others is the fable which ascribes, with particular zest and as 
a matter of regular custom, the great decisions taken in the course of our 
latest campaigns, to the deliberations of a council of war previously con- 

For instance, the battle of Koniggratz. 

I can relate in a few lines the circumstances under which an event of 
such far-reaching importance had birth. 

Feldzeugmeister Benedek had, in his advance to the northward, to 
secure himself against the Ilnd Prussian Army marching on the east over 
the mountains of Silesia. To this end four of his Corps had one after 
another been pushed forward on his right flank, and had all been beaten 
within three days. They now joined the main body of the Austrian Army, 
which had meanwhile reached the vicinity of Dubenetz. 

Here, then, on June 30th. almost the whole of the Austrian forces were 
standing actually inside the line of operations between the two Prussian 
armies; of which the 1st was already fighting its way to Gitschin, desig- 
nated from Berlin as the common point of concentration, and the Ilnd 
had also advanced close on the Upper Elbe ; thus they were both so near 
that the enemy could not attack the one without the other falling on hia 
rear. The strategic advantage was nullified by the tactical disadvantage. 

In these circumstances, and having already lost 40,000 men in previous 
battles, General Benedek gave up the advance, and during the night of 
June 30th began his retreat on Koniggratz. 

The movement of six Army Corps and four Cavalry Divisions, marching 
in only four columns, which were necessarily very deep, could not be 
accomplished in the course of a single day. They halted very closely 
concentrated between Trotina and Lipa ; but when on July 2nd they 
still remained there, it was owing to the extreme fatigue of the troops, 
and the difficulty, nay, impossibility, of withdrawing so large a body of 
men beyond the Elbe, under the eyes of an active enemy and by a limited 
number of passages. In fact, the Austrian general could no longer 
manoeuvre ; he had no alternative but to fight. 

It is a noteworthy fact that neither his advance on Dubenetz nor his 
retreat on Lipa was known to the Prussians. These movements were con- 
cealed from the Ilnd Army by the Elbe, and the cavalry of the 1st was 
a mass of more than 8000 horse collected in one unwieldy Corps. The 
four squadrons attached to each Infantry Division were of course not able 
to undertake reconnoissances, as subsequently was later done in 1870 by a 
more advantageous plan of formation. 

Thus in the Royal head-quarters at Gitschin nothing certain was known. 
It was supposed that the main body of the hostile army was still advancing, 
and that it would take up a position with the Elbe in its front and its 
flanks resting on the fortresses of Josephstadt and Kbniggratz. There 


were, then, these alternatives-either to turn this extremely strong posi- 

ti0 B; t^adop'ionof'thefirst the communications of the Austrian Army with 
Pardnbitz would be so seriously threatened that it might probab y be com- 
pelled to retreat. But to secure the safety of such a movement our Ilnd 
Army must relieve our 1st and cross over to the right bank of the Jibe 
And in this- case the flank march of the latter close past the enemy H 
front might easily be interfered with, if passages enough across the river 

B ne^e<nca success could only be hoped for if an advance of the 
Ilnd Army on the right flank of the enemy's position could be combined 
with the attack in front. For this it must be kept on the left bank. 

The separation of the two armies, which was for the present intentionally 
maintained, allowed of either plan being followed ; but mine was the 
serious responsibility of advising his Majesty which should be chosen. 

To keep both alternatives open for the present, General von Herwartl 
was ordered to occupy Pardubitz, and the Crown Prince to remain on the 
left bank of the Elbe, to reconnoitre that river as well as the Aupa and 
the Metau, and to remove all obstacles which might oppose a crossing in 
one or the other direction. At length, on July 2ud, Prince Frederick 
Charles was ordered, in the event of his finding a large force in front ot 
the Elbe, to attack it at once. But, on the evening of that day, it came 
to the knowledge of the Prince that the whole Austrian Army had marched 
to and was in position on the Bistritz ; and in obedience to instructions 
received, he at once ordered the 1st Army and the Army of the Elbe to 
assemble close in front of the enemy by daybreak next morning. 

General von Voigts-Rhetz brought the news at eleven o'clock in the 
evening to the King at Gitschin, and his Majesty sent him over to me. 

This information dispelled all doubts and lifted a weight from my heart. 
With a " Thank God ! " I sprang out of bed, and hastened across to the 
King, who was lodged on the other side of the Market Place. 

His Majesty also had gone to rest in his little camp-bed. After a brief 
explanation on my part, he said he fully understood the situation, decided 
on giving battle next day with all three armies in co-operation, and desired 
me to transmit the necessary orders to the Crown Prince, who was at 
once to cross the Elbe. 

The whole interview with his Majesty lasted barely ten minutes. No 
one else was present. 

This was the " Council of War " before Kb'niggratz. 

General von Podbielski and Major Count Wartensleben shared my 
quarters. The orders to the Ilnd Army were drawn up forthwith and 
despatched in duplicate by two different routes by midnight. One, carried 
by General von Voigts-Rhetz, informed Prince Frederick Charles of all the 
dispositions ; the other was sent direct to Koniginhof. 

In the course of his night-ride of above twenty-eight miles, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Count Finckenstein had to pass the rayon of the 1st Army Corps, 
which was furthest to the rear. He handed to the officer on duty a special 
letter to be forwarded immediately to the general in command, ordering 
an immediate assemblage of his troops and an independent advance, 
even before orders should reach him from Koniginhof. 

The position of the Austrians on July 3rd had a front of not more 
than 4f miles. Our three armies advanced on it in an encompassing arc 
of about twenty-four miles in extent. But while in the centre the 1st and 
Ilnd Corps of the 1st Army stood before daylight close in front of the 
enemy, on the right wing General von Herwath had to advance on the 
Bistritz from Smidar in the dark, by very bad roads, above nine miles ; and 
on the left, the orders from the Royal head-quarter could not even reach 
the Crown Prince before four in the morning. It was therefore decided 
that the centre would have to maintain a detaining engagement for several 


hours. Above all, a possible offensive on the part of the enemy must here 
be met, and for this the whole Illrd Corps and the cavalry corps stood 
ready ; but the battle could only be decided by the double flank attack by 
both the flanking armies. 1 

I had ridden out early to the heights in front of Sadowa with my officers, 
and at eight o'clock the King also arrived there. 

It was a dull morning, and from time to time a shower fell. The 
horizon was dim, yet on the right the white clouds of smoke showed that 
the heads of the 1st Army were already fighting some way off, in front of 
the villages on the Bistritz. On the left, in the woods of Swip, brisk 
rifle-firing^was audible. Behind the King, besides his staff,. were his royal 
guests, with their numerous suites of adjutants, equerries, and led 
horses, in number as many as two squadrons. An Austrian battery seemed 
to have selected them to aim at, and compelled him to move away with a 
smaller following. 

Soon afterwards, with Count Wartensleben, I rode through the village 
of Sadowa, which the enemy had already abandoned. The advanced guard 
of the 8th Division had massed its guns behind the wood under cover of 
the sharpshooters who had been sent forward, but many shells fell there 
from a large battery in front of the exits from the copses. As we rode 
further along the road we admired the coolness of a huge ox, which went 
on its way, heedless of the shot, and seemed determined to charge the 
enemy's position. 

The formidable array of the Illrd and Xth Austrian Corps' Artillery 
opposite the wood prevented any attempt to break through it, and I was in 
time to countermand an order which had been given to do so. 

Meanwhile, further to the left, General von Fransecky had vigorously 
passed to the offensive. After a sharp straggle he had driven the 
enemy out of the Swip woods, and come through to the further side. 
Against him he had the IVth Austrian Corps; bufc now the Ilnd and part 
of the Illrd Austrian Corps turned on the 7th Division; 57 battalions 
against 14. In the thick brushwood all the bodies had become mixed, per- 
sonal command was impossible, and, in spite of our obstinate resistance, 
isolated detachments were taken prisoners, and others were dispersed. 

Such a rabble rushed out of the wood at the very moment when the King 
and his staff rode up; his Majesty looked on with some displeasure, 2 but the 
wounded officer, who was trying to keep his little band together, at once 
led it back into the fight. In spite of heavy losses the division got firm 
possession of the northern side of the wood. It had drawn on itself very 
considerable forces of the enemy, which were subsequently missing from 
the positions which it was their duty to have defended. 

It was now eleven o'clock. The heads of the 1st Army had crossed the 
Bistritz, and taken most of the villages on its farther bank ; but these 
were only the enemy's advanced posts, which he had no intention of 
obstinately holding. His Corps held a position behind, whence their 
250 guns commanded the open plain which had to be crossed for the 
delivery of a farther attack. On the right, General von Herwarth had 
reached the Bistritz, but on the left nothing was yet to be seen of the 
Crown Prince. 

1 viz. The Ilnd Army, commanded by the Crown Prince of Prussia, 
which was to strike the Austrian right flank aud right rear ; and the Army 
of the Elbe, commanded by General Herwarth von Bittenfeld, which was to 
strike the Austrian left flank. 

2 I have a history of the war, published at Tokio, in the Japanese 
language, with very original illustrations. One of these has for its title, 
".The King scolding the Army." [MOLTKE.] 


The battle had come to a standstill. In the centre the 1st Army was 
still fighting about the villages on the Bistritz ; the cavalry could not get 
forward, and the artillery found no good position to occupy. The troops 
had been for five hours under the enemy's lively fire, without food, 
to prepare which there had been no time. 

Some doubt as to the issue of the battle existed probably in many minds ; 
perhaps in that of Count Bismarck, as he offered me his cigar case. As I 
was subsequently informed, he took it for a good sign that of two cigars I 
coolly selected the better one. 

The King asked me at about this time what I thought of the prospects of 
the battle. I replied, " Your Majesty to-day will not only win the battle, 
but decide the war." 

It could not be otherwise. 

We had the advantage in numbers, 1 which in war is never to be 
despised j and it was certain that our Ilnd Army must finally appear on 
the flank and rear of the Austrians. 

At about 1.30 a white cloud was seen on the height, crowned with trees, 
and visible from afar, on which our field-glasses had been centred. It was 
indeed not yet the Ilnd Army, but the smoke of the fire which, directed 
thereon, announced its near approach. The jo.\fnl shout, "The Crown 
Prince is coming!" ran through the ranks. 1 sent the wished-for news 
to General von Herwartb, who meanwhile had carried Problns, in spite of 
the heroic defence of the Saxons. 

The Ilnd Army had started at 7.30 in the morning ; only the 1st Corps 
had delayed till about 9-15. The advance by bad roads, in part across the 
fields, had taken much time. The hill-road stretching from Horenowes to 
Trotina, if efficiently held, could not but be a serious obstacle. Bat in its 
eager pressure on Fransecky's Division the enemy's right wing had made 
a wheel to the left, so that it lay open to some extent to the attack on its 
rear now impending. 

The Crown Prince's progress was not yet visible to us, but at about half- 
past three the King ordered the advance of the 1st Army also. 

As we emerged from the wood of Sadowa into the open we found still a 
part of the great battery which had so long prevented us from debouching 
here, but the teams and gunners lay stretched by the wrecked guns. 
There was nothing else to be seen of the enemy over a wide distance. 

The Austrian retreat from the position grasped by us on two sides, had 
become inevitable, and had, in fact, been effected some time before. Their 
admirable artillery, firing on to the last moment, had screened their retreat 
and given the infantry a long start. The crossing of the Bistritz seriously 

1 During a long peace the sphere of action of the War Minister's 
department aud the General Staff were not distinctly defined. The pro- 
viding for the troopa in peace was the function of the former, and in war 
time a number of official duties which could be superintended by the central 
authorities at home. Thus the place of the Minister of War was not at 
head-quarters, but at Berlin. The Chief of the General Staff, on the other 
hand, from the moment when the mobilization is ordered, assumes the whole 
responsibility for the marching and transport already prepared for during 
peace, both for the first assembling of the forces, and for their subsequent 
employment, for which he has only to ask the consent of the Commander- 
in-Chief always, with us, the King. 

How necessary this disjunction of the two authorities"^, I had to ex- 
perience in June, 1866. Without my knowledge the order had been given 
for the Vllth Corps to remain on the Rhine. It was only by my repre- 
sentations that the 16th Division was moved up into Bohemia, and our 
numerical superiority thus brought up to a decisive strength. [MOLTKK.] 


delayed the advance, especially of the cavalry, so that only isolated 
detachments of it yet came up with the enemy. 

We rode at a smart gallop across the wide field of battle, without looking 
much about us on the scene of horror. Finally, we found our three armies 
which had at last pushed on into a circumscribed space from their several 
directions, and had got much mixed. It took twenty.four hours to remedy 
the confusion and re-form the bodies ; an immediate pursuit was impossible, 
but the victory was complete. 

The exhausted men now sought resting-places in the villages or the open 
field as best they might. Anything that came to hand by way of food 
was of course taken ; my wandering ox probably among the rest. The 
death-cries of pigs and geese were heard ; but necessity knows no law, and 
the baggage-waggons were naturally not on the spot. 

The King, too, remained at a hamlet on the field. Only I and my two 
officers had to journey some twenty-four miles back to Gitschin, where the 
bureaux were. 

We had set out thence at four in the morning, and had been fourteen 
hours in the saddle. In the hurry of departure no one had thought of 
providing himself with food. An Uhlan of the 2nd Regiment had bestowed 
on me a slice of sausage, bread he had none himself. On our way back we 
met the endless train of provision and ammunition waggons, often ex- 
tending all across the road. We did not reach our quarters till midnight. 
There was nothing to eat even here at this hour, but I was so exhausted 
that I threw myself on my bed in great-coat and sash, and fell asleep 
instantly. Next morning new orders had to be prepared and laid before 
his Majesty at Horitz. 

The Great King 1 had needed to struggle -for seven years to reduce the 
might of Austria, which his more fortunate and also more powerful grandson 2 
had achieved in as many weeks. The campaign had proved decisive in the 
first eight days from June 27th to July 3rd. 

The war of 1866 was entered on not as a defensive measure to meet a 
threat against the existence of Prussia, nor in obedience to public 
opinion and the voice of the people : it was a struggle, long foreseen 
and calmly prepared for, recognized as a necessity by the Cabinet, not for 
territorial aggrandizement or material advantage, but for an ideal end the 
establishment of power. Not a foot of land was exacted from defeated 
Austria, but she had to renounce all part in the hegemony of Germany. 

The Princes Of the Reich had themselves to blame that the old Empire 
had now for centuries allowed domestic politics to override German national 
politics. Austria had exhausted her strength in conquests south of the 
Alps while she left the western German provinces unprotected, instead 
of following the road pointed out by the course of the Danube. Her centre 
of gravity lay outside of Germany ; Prussia's lay within it. Prussia felt 
her strength, and that it behoved her to assume the leadership of the Ger- 
man races. The regrettable but unavoidable exclusion of one of them from 
the new Reich could only be to a small extent remedied by a subsequent 
alliance. But Germany has become immeasurably greater without Austria, 
than it was before with Austria. 

But all this has nothing to do with the legends of which I am telling. 

One of these has been sung in verse, and in fine verse too. 

The scene is Versailles. The French are making a sortie from Paris, and 
the generals, instead of betaking themselves to their fighting troops, are 
assembled to consider whether head-quarters may safely remain any longer 

1 Frederick the Great. 

2 Wilhelm was not the grandson, but the great-grand-nephew of 
Frederick the Great. The term is very rarely used in the wider sense of 
"descendant ; " but Frederick was childless. 

E 6 


at Versailles. Opinions are divided, no one dares speak out. The Chief of 
the General Staff, who is above all called on to express his views, remains 
silent. The perplexity seems to be great. Only the War Minister rises and 
protests with the greatest emphasis against a measure so injurious from a 
political and military point of view as a removal. He is warmly thanked 
by the King as being the only man who has the courage to speak the truth 
freely and fearlessly. 

The trnth is that while the King and his whole escort had ridden out to 
the Vth Army Corps, the Marshal of the household, in his over-anxiety, 
had the horses put to the royal carriages, and this became known in the 
town ; and indeed may have excited all sorts of hopes in the sanguine 

Versailles was protected by four Army Corps. It never entered any- 
body's head to think of evacuating the town. 

1 can positively assert no Council of War was ever held either in 1866 
or 1870-71. 

Excepting on the march and on days of battle, an audience was regularly 
held by his Majesty at ten o'clock, at which I, accompanied by the Quarter- 
master-General, laid the latest reports and information before him, and made 
our suggestions on that basis. The Chief of the Military Cabinet and the 
Minister of War were also present, and while the head-quarters of the 
IHrd Army were at Versailes, the Crown Prince also ; but all merely as 
listeners. The King occasionally required them to give him information 
on one point or another ; but 1 do not remember that he ever asked for 
advice concerning the operations in the field or the suggestions I made. 

These, which I always discussed beforehand with my staff officers, 
were, on the contrary, generally maturely weighed by his Majesty him- 
self. He always pointed out with a military eye and an invariably correct 
estimate of the situation, all the objections that might be raised to their 
execution ; but as in war every step is beset with danger, the plans laid 
before him wero invariably adopted. 






Commander-in-chief : The Emperor Napoleon III. 
Major-General : Marshal Le Bceuf. 
Aide-Major-General : General Dejean. 
Chiefs of Staff: Generals Jarras and Lebrun. 
Commanding Artillery : General Soleille. 
Commanding Engineer: General Coffinieres de Nordeck. 
Aides-de-camp to the Emperor: Generals Prince de la Moscawa, de 
Castlenau, Count Reille, Viscount Pajol. 


General Bourbaki. 

Chief of Staff: General d'Auvergne. 

Commanding Artillery : General Pe-de-Arros. 

1st Infantry Division: General Deligny. 

1st Brigade : General Brincourt. 

Chasseurs of the Guard. 

1st and 2nd Voltigeurs of the Guard. 
2nd Brigade : General Gamier. 

3rd and 4th Voltigeurs of the Guard. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder batteries, one mitrailleuse battory. 

2nd Infantry Division : General Picard. 

1st Brigade : General Jeanningros. 

Zouaves of the Guard (two battalions). 
1st Grenadiers of the Guard. 
2nd Brigade : General Poitevin de la Croix. 

2nd and 3rd Grenadiers of the Guard. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-ponnder batteries, one mitrailleuse battery. 

E e 2 



Cavalry Division : General Desvaux. 
1st Brigade : General Halma du Fretay. 


Chasseurs of the Guard. 
2nd Brigade : General de France. 

Lancers of the Guard. 

Dragoons of the Guard. 
3rd Brigade : General dn Preuil. 

Cuirassiers of the Guard. 

Carabiniers of the Guard. 

Reserve Artillery : Colonel Clappier 
Four horse-artillery batteries. 


Marshal MacMahon, afterwards General Dncrot. 
Chief of Staff: General Colson. 
Commanding Artillery : General Forgeot. 

1st Infantry Division : General Dnorot. 

1st Brigade : General Moreno. 

13th Chasseur battalion. 

18th and 96th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Postis du Houlbec. 

45th and 74th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder batteries and one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division: General Abel Douay, afterwards General Pellc. 
1st Brigade : General Pelletier de Montmarie. 

16th Chasseur battalion. 

50th and 78th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Pelle. 

1st regiment of Zouaves. 

1st regiment of Turcos. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder batteries, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division: General Raonlt. 

1st Brigade : General L'Herillcr. 

8th Chasseur battalion. 

2nd Zouave regiment. 

36th Line regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General Lefevre. 

2nd regiment of Turcos. 

48th Line regiment. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder batteries, one mitrailleuse battery. 

4th Infantry Division : General de Lartigue. 

1st Brigade : General Frabonlet de Kerleadec. 
1st battalion of Chasseurs. 
3rd Zouave regiment. 
56th Line regiment. 


2nd Brigade : General Lacrefcelle. 

3rd regiment of Turcos. 

87th Line regiment. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder batteries, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division: General Duhesme. 

1st Brigade : General de Septeuil. 

3rd Hussar regiment. 

llth Chassenr regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General de Nansouty. 

2nd and 6th Lancer regiments. 

10th Dragoon regiment. 
3rd Brigade : General Michel. 

8th and 9th Cuirassier regiments. 

Reserve Artillery : Colonel do Vassart. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 

Two 12-ponnder batteries. 

Four horse-artillery batteries. i 


General Frosaard. 

Chief of Staff: General Saget. 

Commanding Artillery : General Gagneux. 

1st Infantry Division : General Verge 

1st Brigade : General Letellier-Valaze. 

3rd battalion of Chasseurs. 

32nd and 55th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Jobivet. 

76th and 77th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division : General Bataille. 

1st Brigade : General Pouget. 

12th battalion of Chasseurs. 

8th and 23rd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Fauvart-Bastoul. 

66th and 67th Line regiments. 
Division -Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General Laveancoupet. 

1st Brigade : General Doens. 

10th battalion of Chasseurs. 

2nd and 63rd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Michelet. 

24th and 40th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division: General Lichtlin. 

1st Brigade : General de Valabreque. 
4th and 5th regiments of Chasseurs. 


2nd Brigade : General Baohelier. 

7th and 12th regiments of Dragoons. 

Reserve-Artillery : Colonel Baudouin. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Two mitrailleuse batteries. 


Marshal Bazaine, afterwards General Deoaen. 
Chief of Staff: General Maneque. 
Commanding Artillery : General de Rochebouet. 

1st Infantry Division: General Montaudon. 

1st Brigade : General Aymard. 

18th Chasseur battalion. 

51st and 62nd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Clinohant. 

81st and 95th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division : General de Castagny. 

1st Brigade : General Cambriels. 

15th Chasseur battalion. 

19th and 41st Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Duplessis. 

69th and 90th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General Metman. 

1st Brigade : General de Potier. 

7th Chasseur battalion. 

7th and 29th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Arnaudeau. 

59th and 71st Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

4ffc Infantry Division: General Decaen. 

1st Brigade : General de Brauer. 

llth Chasseur battalion. 

44th and 60th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General SangU-Ferrieres. 

80th and 85th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General de Clerembault. 

1st Brigade : General de Bruchard. 

2nd, 3rd, and 10th Chasseur regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Maubranches. 

2nd and 4th Dragoon regiments. 
3rd Brigade : General de Juuiac. 

5th and 8th Dragoon regiments. 


Reserve Artillery : Colonel de Lajaille. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Four horse-artillery batteries. 


General de Ladmirault. 

Chief of Staff : General Desaint de Martille. 

Commanding Artillery : General Laffaile. 

1st Infantry Division : General de Cissey. 

1st Brigade : General Count Brayer. 

20th Chasseur battalion. 

1st and 6th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Golberg. 

57th and 73rd Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd, Infantry Division : General Eose. 

1st Brigade : General Bellecourt. 

5th Chasseur battalion. 

13th and 43rd Line Eegiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Pradier. 

64th and 98th Line regiments. 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General de Lorencez. 

1st Brigade : General Pajol. 

2nd Chasseur battalion. 

15th and 33rd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Berger. 

54th and 65th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General Legrand. 

1st Brigade : General de Montaigu. 

2nd and 7th Hussar regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Gondrecourt. 

3rd and llth Dragoon regiments. 

Reserve-Artillery : Colonel Soleille. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Two horse-artillery batteries. 


General de Failly. 

Chief of Staff: General Besson. 

Commanding Artillery : General Lidot. 


1st Infantry Dicision : General Goze. 

1st Brigade : General Grenier. 

4th Gbassenr battalion. 

llth and 46th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Nicolas. 

61st and 86th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division : General de 1'Abadie d'Aydroin. 

1st Brigade : General Lapasset. 

14th Chasseur battalion. 

49th and 84th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Maassiou. 

88th and 97th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General Guyot de Lespart. 

1st Brigade : General Abbatucci. 

19th Chasseur battalion. 

17th and 27th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Fontanges de Conzan. 

30th and 68th Line regiments. 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Dicision : General Brahaut. 

1st Brigade : General Pierre de Bernis. 

5th and 12th Chasseur regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de la Mortiere. 

3rd and 5th Lancer regiments. 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Reserve-Artillery : Colonel de Salignac-Fenelon. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Two horse-artillery batteries. 


Marshal Canrobert. 

Chief of Staff: General Henri. 

Commanding Artillery : General de Berkheim. 

1st Infantry Division: General Tixier. 

1st Brigade : General Pechot. 

9th Chasseur battalion. 

4th and 10th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Le Boy de Dais. 

12th and 100th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 


2nd Infantry Division : General BisBon. 

let Brigade : General Noel. 

9th and 14th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Maurice. 

20th and 30th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General La Font de Villiers. 

1st Brigade : General Becquet de Sonnay. 

75th and 91st Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Colin. 

93rd Line regiment. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

4th Infantry Division : General Levasaor-Sorval. 

1st Brigade : General de Marguenat. 

25th and 26th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Chanaleilles. 

28th and 70th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General de Salignac-Fenelon. 

1st Brigade : General Tilliard. 

1st Hussar regiment. 

6th Chasseur regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General Savaresse. 

1st and 7th Lancer regiments. 
3rd Brigade : General de Beville. 

5th and 6th Cuirassier regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

Reserve-Artillery : Colonel de Montluisant. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 

Two 12-pounder batteries. 

Four batteries of horse-artillery. 


General Felix Douay. 

Chief of Staff : General Renson. 

Commanding Artillery : General Liegard. 

1st Infantry Division : General Conseil-Dumesnil. 

1st Brigade : General Le Norman de Bretteville. 

17th Chasseur battalion. 

3rd and 21st Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Maire. 

47th and 99th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4- pounder, two mitrailleuse batteries. 


2nd Infantry Division : General Liebert. 

1st Brigade : General Gniomar. 

6th Chasseur battalion. 

5th and 37th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de la Bastide. 

53rd and 89th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General Dumont. 

1st Brigade : General Bordas. 

52nd and 72nd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Bittard des Fortes. 

82nd and 83rd Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General Ameil. 

1st Brigade : General Cambriel. 

4th Hussar regiments 

4th and 8th Lancer regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Jolif du Coulombier. 

6th Hussar regiment. 

6th Dragoon regiment. 
Division -Artillery. 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Reserve Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Two batteries horse-artillery. 

1st Division : General da Barrail. 

1st Brigade : General Margueritte. 

1st and 3rd regiments Chasseurs d'Afrique. 
2nd Brigade : General de Lajaille. 

2nd and 4th regiments Chasseurs d'Afriqne. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

2nd Division: General de Bonnemains. 

1st Brigade : General Girard. 

1st and 2nd Cuirassier regiments. 
2nd Brigade : . . . . 

3rd and 4th Cuirassier regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

3rd Division : General Marquis de Forton. 

let Brigade : General Prince J. Murat. 

1st and 9th Dragoon regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Grammont. 

7th and 10th Cuirassier regiments. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 



General Cann. 

Chief of Staff: Colonel Laflbnt do Ladebat. 

13th Field- Artillery regiment. 

Eight 12-pounder batteries. 
18th Field-Artillery regiment. 

Eight batteries of horse-artillery. 
Three mountain batteries. 

Note. The 6th Corps (Canrobert), when ordered to Metz from Chalons, 
left there three line regiments, its cavalry division, and reserve artillery. 

The battle of Worth divided the original Army of the Ehine into two parts, 
one of which is generally known as " The Army of Metz," and the other, 
with additions, became " The Army of Chalons." Their respective " Orders 
of Battle " follow : 


Commander-in-Chief : Marshal MacMahon, Duke of Magenta, afterwards 
General de Wimpfen. 

Chief of Staff: General Faure. 
Commanding Artillery : General Forgeot. 
Commanding Engineer : General Dejean. 
Intendant- General : Rousillon. 


General Ducrot. 

Chief of Staff: Colonel Robert. 

Commanding Artillery : General Frigola. 

1st Infantry Division : General Wolff. 

1st Brigade : General Moreno. 

13th Chasseur battalion. 

18th and 96th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Postis du Houlbeo. 

45th Line regiment. 

1st Zouave regiment. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division : General Pelle. 

1st Brigade : General Pelletier de Montmarie. 

16th Chasseur battalion. 

50th and 74th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Gandil. 

78th Line regiment. 

1st regiment of Tnrcos. 

1st " marching " regiment. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 


3rd Infantry Division : General L'Heriller. 

1st Brigade : General Carteret-Trecourt. 

8th Chasseur battalion. 

2nd Zouave regiment. 

36th Line regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General Lefebvre. 

2nd regiment of Tnrcos. 

48th Line regiment. 

1st battalion of Franc-tireurs of Paris. 

Two 4 pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

ith Infantry Division: General do Lartigue. 

1st Brigade : General Fraboulet de Kerleadec. 

1st Chasseur battalion. 

3rd regiment of Tirailleurs (Tnrcos). 

56th Line regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General de Belleinare. 

3rd Zouave regiment. 

2nd ' ' marching " regiment. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General Duhesme ; after August 25, General Michel. 

1st Brigade : General de Septeuil. 

3rd Hussar regiment. 

llth Chasseur regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General de Nansonfcy. 

2nd and 6th Lancer regiments. 

10th Dragoon regiment. 
3rd Brigade : General Michel. 

8th and 9th Cuirassier regiments. 

Reserve Artillery : Colonel Grouvell. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Four batteries of horse-artillery. 


General de Failly. 

Chief of Staff: General Bosson. 

Commanding Artillery, General Liedot. 


f 1st Infantry Division : General Goze. 

1st Brigade : General Grenier, later General Saurin. 

4th Chasseur battalion. 

llth and 46t\ Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Baron Nicolas-Nicolas. 

61st and 86th Lipr regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 


2nd Infantry Division : General de 1'Abadie d'Aydrein. 

1st Brigade : General Lapassefc. 

(With the army of Metz.) 
2nd Brigade : General de Maussiou. 

88th and 97th Line regiments. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

3rd Infantry Division : General Guyot de 1'Lespart. 

1st Brigade : General Abbatucci. 

19th Chasseur battalion. 

17th and 27th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Fontanges de Couzan. 

30th and 68th Line regiments, 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Division : General Brahaut. 

1st Brigade : General Viscount Pierre de Bernis. 

5th and 6th Chasseur regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de la 

3rd and 5th Lancer regiments. 

One battery of horse -artillery. 

Reserve Artillery : Colonel de Salignac-Feneloti. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-ponnder batteries. 
Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

7th CORPS. 

General Felix Douay. 

Chief of Stan-': General Benson. 

Commanding Artillery : General Lie-gard. 

1st Infantry Division : General Conseil-Dumesnil. 

1st Brigade : General Morand, afterwards General la Brettevillois. 

17th Chasseur battalion. 

3rd and 21st Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General St. Hilaire. 

47th and 99th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, two mitrailleuse batteries. 

2nd Infantry Division : General Lieberfc. 

1st Brigade : General Guiomar. 

6th Chasseur battalion. 

5th and 37th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de la Bastide. 

53rd and 89th Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 


3rd Infantry Division : General Dumont. 

1st Brigade : General Bordas. 

52nd and 72nd Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Bittard dea Fortes. 

82nd and 83rd Line regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

Cavalry Brigade: General Aineil. 

1st Brigade : General Cambriel. 

4th Hussar regiment. 

4th and 8th Lancer regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General du Coulombier (appointed). 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Reserve-Artillery : Colonel Aubac. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-poundor batteries. 
Two batteries of horse-artillery. 


General Lebrnn. 

Chief of Staff: General Gresley. 

Commanding Artillery : General d'Onvrier de Villegly. 

1st Infantry Division : General Grandchamp. 

1st Brigade : General Cambriels. 

1 Chasseur marching battalion. 

22nd and 34th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Villeneuve. 

58th and 72nd Line regiments. 
Di vi sion -Artillery . 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 

2nd Infantry Division: General Lacretelle. 

1st Brigade : General Bernier Maligny. 

14th, 20th, and 30th Line regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General Marquisan. 

3rd and 4th marching regiments. 
Division- Artillery. 

Two 4-pounder, two mitrailleuse batteries. 

3rd Infantry Division : General de Vassoigne. 

1st Brigade : General Reboul. 

1st and 2nd regiments of marine infantry. 
2nd Brigade : General Martin de Paillieres. 

3rd and 4th regiments of marine infantry. 
D ivisi on- Artillery . 

Two 4-ponnder, one mitrailleuse battery. 


Cavalry Division : General de Salignac-Fenelon. 

1st Brigade : General Savaresse. 

1st and 7th Lancer regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Seville. 

5th and 6th Cuirassier regiments. 
3rd Brigade : General Leforestier de Vendeune. 

7th and 8th Chasseurs. 

Reserve Artillery : Colonel Brisac. 

Two 4-pounder batteries. 
Two 12-pounder batteries. 
Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

1st Reserve Cavalry Division : General Margueritte. 

1st Brigade : General Tillard. 

1st and 2nd Chasseurs regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Galiffet. 

1st, 3rd and 4th Chasseurs d'Afrique. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

2nd Reserve Cavalry Division : General de Bonnemains. 

1st Brigade : General Girard. 

1st Hussar regiment. 

47th Chasseur regiment. 
2nd Brigade : General de Brauer. 

2nd and 3rd Cuirassiers. 


Commander-in-Chief : Marshal Bazaine. 
Chief of Staff: GeneralJarras. 
Commanding Artillery : General Soleille. 
Commanding Engineer : General Viala. 


General Bourbaki (afterwards General Desvaux). 
Chief of Staff : General d'Auvergne. 
Commanding Artillery : General Pe-de-Arros. 
(Detail as above.) 

General Frossard. 

(Detail as above with the exception of the 3rd Division (Laveaucoupet's) 
detached to garrison duty.) 


General Decaen, afterwards Marshal Le Bceuf. 
(Detail as above.) 



General de Ladmirault. 

(Detail as above.) 


Marshal Canrobert. 

(Detail as above, with the exception that the Corps when ordered up to 
Metz, left behind at Chaloiis three infantry regiments, its cavalry divi- 
sion, its reserve artillery, and division artillery of the 2nd Division. 

LAPASSET'S BRIGADE (from attached 5th Corps). 
General Lapasset. 

14th Chasseur battalion. 

49th and 84th Line regiments. 

1st Reserve Cavalry Division : General du Barrail. 

1st Brigade : General Margueritte. 

(Vide Army of Chalons.) 
2nd Brigade : General de Lajaille. 

2nd Regiment of Chasseurs d'Afriqne. 

(The 4th regiment of Chasseurs d'Afrique remained at Chalons,) 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 

2nd Reserve Cavalry Division : General de Forton. 

1st Brigade : General Prince J. Mnrat. 

1st and 9th Dragoon regiments. 
2nd Brigade : General de Grammont. 

7th and 10th Cnirassier regiments. 

(As above, less six batteries detached to the 6th Corps.) 


Commandor-in- Chief : H.M. the King of Prussia. 

King's aides-de-camp : General von Boyen ; Lieut.-General von Treskow ; 

Major-General von Steinacker ; Colonel Count Lehndorff; Lieut.- 

Compel Prince Radziwill ; Lient.-Colonel Count Walderaee ; Major 

von AJton. 

Chief of Staff j General Baron von Moltke. 
Qnarter-Master CVB0Ml : Lieat.-General von Podbielski. 
Divisional Chiefs of Staff: Lieut.-Colonel Bronsart von Schellendorf ; 

Lieut.-Colonel von Verdy dn Vernois ; Lieut.-Colonel von Branden- 


Inspector-General of Artillery : General von Hindersin. 
Inspector-General of Engineers : Lient.-General von Kleist. 
Commissary-General : Lieut.-General von Stosch. 



Commander-in-chief : General von Steinmetz, afterwards General von 

Chief of Staff: Major-General von Sperling. 
Quartermaster-General : Colonel Count von Wartensleben. 
Commanding Artillery : Lieut. -General Schwartz. 
Commanding Engineer : Major-General Biehler. 


Infantry-General von Zastrow. 

Chief of Staff: Colonel von Unger. 

Commanding Artillery : Major-General von Zimmermann. 

Commanding Engineer : Major Treumann. 

13th Infantry Division : Lieut. -General von Gliitner. 
25th Brigade : Major-General Baron v. d. Osten Saoken. 

1st Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 13. 

Hanoverian Fusilier regiment, No. 73. 
26th Brigade : Major-General Baron v. d. Goltz. 

2nd Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 15. 

6th Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 55. 
Attached to Division : 

7th Westphalian JUger battalion. 

1st Weatphalian Hussar regiment, No. 8. 

Five batteries (two heavy, two light, and one horse-artillery) of the 

7th field-artillery regiment. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 7th corps, with entrenching tool-column. 
3rd Field-pioneer company, 7th corps. 

14>th Infantry Division : Lient.-General von Kameoke. 

27th Brigade : Major-General von Francois. 

Lower Rhine Fusilier regiment, No. 39. 

1st Hanoverian Infantry regiment, No. 74. 
28th Brigade; Major-General von Woyna. 

5th Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 53. 

2nd Hanoverian Infantry regiment, No. 77. 
Attached to Division : 

Four batteries (two heavy and two light) of the 7th Westphalian 
field-artillery regiment. 

Hanoverian Hussar regiment, No. 15. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 7th corps, with light bridging-train. 

Corps- Artillery : Colonel von Helden-Sarnowski. 

Two Horse artillery, two light, and two heavy field-batteries of the 

7th Field-artillery regiment. 
Artillery Ammunition columns. 
Infantry ,, 


The 7th Westphalian train-battalion. 


Infantry -General von Goeben. 
Chief of Staff: Colonel von Witzendorff. 
Commanding Artillery : Colonel von Kamecke. 
Commanding Engineer : Lieut. -Colonel Sohulz. 


15th Infantry Division: Lieut. -General von Weltzien. 

29th Brigade : Major-General von Wedell. 

Bast Prussian Fnsilier regiment, No. 33. 

7th Brandenbnrg Infantry regiment, No. 60. 
30th Brigade : Major-General von Strnbberg. 

2nd Rhine Province Infantry regiment, No. 28. 

4th Magdebnrg Infantry regiment, No. 67. 
Attached to Division : 

8th Rhine Province Jager battalion. 

King's Hnssar regiment (1st Rhine), No. 7. 

Fonr batteries (two heavy, two light) of 8th Field-Artillery regiment. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 8th corps, with entrenching tool- 

16th Infantry Division : Lieut.-General von Barnekow. 

31st Brigade : Major-General Count Neidhardt v. Gneisenau. 

3rd Rhine Province Infantry regiment, No. 29. 

7th Rhine Province Infantry regiment, No. 69. 
32nd Brigade : Colonel von Rex. 

Hohenzollern Fusilier regiment, No. 40. 

4th Thuringian Infantry regiment, No. 72. 
Attached to Division : 

2nd Rhine Hussar regiment, No. 9. 

Fonr batteries (two heavy, two light) of 8th Field-artillery regiment. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 8th corps, with light bridging-train. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 8th corps. 

Corps Artillery : Colonel von Broecker. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery, two heavy and two light field batteries, 
of the 8th Field-artillery regiment. 

Artillery, Infantry, and pontoon columns belonging to the 8th Field- 
artillery regiment. 

The 8th, Rhenish, train-battalion. 


Lieut.-General Count v. d. Gro'ben. 

6th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Mirus. 
Rhine Prov. Cuirassier regiment, No. 8. 

Uhlan regiment, No. 7. 

7th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Count zu Dohna. 
Westphalian Uhlan regiment, No. 5. 
2nd Hanoverian Uhlan regiment, No. 14. 

One battery of horse-artillery of the 7th Westphalian Field-artillery 


Cavalry-General Baron von Mantenffel. 
Chief of Staff: Lieut-Colonel v. d. Burg. 
Commanding Artillery : Major- General von Bergmann. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Fahland. 

1st Infantry Division : Lieut.-General von Bentheim. 

1st Brigade : Major-General von Gayl. 

Crown Prince's Grenadier regiment (1st East Prussian), No. 1. 
5th East Prussian Infantry regiment, No. 41. 


2nd Brigade : Major-General von Falkenstein. 

2nd East Prussian Grenadier regiment, No. 3. 

6th ,, Infantry regiment, No. 43. 
Attached to Division : 

Bast Prussian Jager battalion, No. 1. 

Lithuanian Dragoon regiment, No. 1. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of 1st Bast Prussian Field- 
artillery regiment. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 1st corps, with entrenching tool-column. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 1st corps. 

2nd Infantry Division : Major- General von Pritzelwitz. 

3rd Brigade : Major -General von Memerty. 

3rd East Prussian Grenadier regiment, No, 4. 

7th Infantry regiment, No. 44. 

4th Brigade : Major-General von Zzlinitzki. 

4th East Prussian Grenadier regiment, No. 5. . , 

8th Infantry regiment, No. 45. 

Attached to Division : 

East Prussian Dragoon regiment, No. 10. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of 1st, East Prussian, Field- 
artillery regiment. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 1st corps, with light bridging- train. 

Corps~Artillery : Colonel Jnnge. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery ^ Q Easfc p russi 

Two light field-batteries ^ Field-artillery regiment. 

Two heavy ) 

Artillery and Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns belonging to 1st 
Field-artillery regiment. 

The 1st East Prussian train-battalion. 


Lieut. -General von Hartmann. 

1st Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Liideritz. 

Queen's Cuirassier regiment (Pomeranian), No. 2. 

1st Pomeranian Uhlan regiment, No. 4. 

2nd No. 9. 

2nd Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Baumgarth. 

East Prussian Cuirassier regiment, No. 3. 
,, Uhlan regiment, No. 8. 

Lithuanian ,, No. 12. 

One battery of horse -artillery of the 1st, East Prussian, Field -artillery 


Commander-in -Chief: Cavalry-General H.R.H. Prince Frederic Charles 

of Prussia. 

Chief of Staff: Major-General von Stiehle. 
Quartermaster- General : Colonel von Hertzberg. 
Commanding Artillery : Lieut.-General von Colomier. 
Commanding Engineer : Colonel Leuthaus. 

F f 2 



Cavalry-General H.R.H. Prince August of Wiirtemberg. 

Chief of Staff : Major- General von Dannenberg. 

Commanding Artillery: Major-General Prince Kraft of Hohenloh 

Commanding Engineer : Lieut.-Colonel Bognn von Wangenheim. 

1st Guard-Infantry Division : Major-General von Pape. 

1st Brigade : Major-General von Kessel. 

1st regiment of Foot Guards. 


2nd Brigade : Major-General Baron von Modem. 

2nd regiment of Foot Guards. 

Guard Fusilier regiment. 

4th regiment of Foot Guards. 
Attached to Division : 

Guard Jager battalion. 
Hussar regiment. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Guard field-artillery regi- 

1st Field-pioneer company of the Guard with light bridging-train. 

2nd Guard'Infanlry Division ; Lieut. -General von Budritzki. 

3rd Brigade : Colonel Knappe von Knappstaedt. 

1st Guard Grenadier regiment (Emperor Alexander's). 

3rd ,, ,, ,, (Queen Elizabeth's). 

4th Brigade : Major- General von Berger. 

2nd Guard Grenadier regiment (Emperor Francis'). 

4th ,, (Queen's). 

Attached to Division : 

Guard Rifle battalion. 

2nd Guard Uhlan regiment. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Guard field-artillery regi- 

2nd Field-pioneer company of the Guard with entrenching tool- 

3rd Field-pioneer company of the Guard. 

Guard-Cavalry Division: Lieut. -General Count v. d. Goltz. 

1st Brigade : Major-General Count von Brandenburg I. 

Regiment of the Guard dn Corps. 

Guard Cuirassier regiment. 
2nd Brigade : Major-General FI.R.H. Prince Albert of Prussia. 

1st Guard Uhlan regiment. 

3rd Brigade : Major-General Count von Brandenburg II. 

1st Guard Dragoon regiment. 

2nd i> 

Corps- Artillery : Colonel von Soherbening. 

Two b.yj 

Artillery ammunition, Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of the 

Guard field-artillery regiment. 
Guard train-battalion. 



Lieut.-General von Alvensleben II. 
Chief of Staff': Colonel von Voigts-Rhetz. 
Commanding Artillery : Major-General von Biilow. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Sabarth. 

5tk Infantry Division: Lieut.-General von StUlpnagel. 

9th Brigade : Major-General von Doring. 

Leib.-Grenadier regiment (1st Brandenburg), No. 8. 

5th Brandenburg Infantry regiment, No. 48. 
10th Brigade : Major-General von Schwerin. 

2nd Brandenburg Grenadier regiment, No. 12. 

6th Brandenburg Infantry regiment, No. 52. 
Attached to Division : 

Brandenburg Jager battalion, No. 3. 

2nd Brandenburg Dragoon regiment, No. 12. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Brandenburg Field- 
artillery regiment, No. 3. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 3rd corps. 

6th Infantry Division : Lieut.-General Baron von Bnddenbrock. 

llth Brigade : Major-General von Rothmaler. 

3rd Brandenburg Infantry regiment, No. 20. 

Brandenburg Fusilier regiment, No. 35. 
12th Brigade: Colonel von Bismarck. 

4th Brandenburg Infantry regiment, No. 24. 

8th Brandenburg Infantry regiment, No. 64. 
Attached to Division : 

1st Brandenburg Dragoon regiment, No. 2. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Brandenburg field- 
artillery regiment, No. 3. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 3rd corps, with entrenching tool-column. 

Corps-Artillery: Colonel von Dresky. 

Two batteries of horse- artillery ^ f h Brandenb field . 
Two Hgh7 f d ' batteri68 j artillery regiment, No. 3. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 3rd corps, with light bridging-train. 
Artillery ammunition, Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of the 

Brandenburg field-artillery regiment, No. 3. 
Brandenburg train battalion. 


Infantry-General von Alvensleben I. 

Chief of Staff: Colonel von Thile. 

Commanding Artillery : Major-General von Scherbening. 

Commanding Engineer : Lieut-Colonel von Eltester. 

7th Infantry Division: Lieut.-General von Grosz von Schwarzhoff. 

13th Brigade : Major-General von Vorries. 

1st Magdeburg Infantry regiment, No. 26. 

3rd Magdeburg Infantry regiment, No. 66. 
14th Brigade : Major-General von Zychlinski. 

2nd Magdeburg Infantry regiment, No. 27. 

Anhalt Infantry regiment, No. 93. 


Attached to Division : 

Magdeburg Jager battalion, No. 4. 

Westpbalian Dragoon regiment, No. 7. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Magdeburg field-artillery 


2nd Field-pioneer company, 4th corps, with entrenching tool-column. 
3rd Field-pioneer company, 4th corps. 

8th Infantry Division : Lient.-General von Schbler. 

15th Brigade : Major- General von Kessler. 

1st Thuringian Infantry regiment, No. 31. 

3rd No. 71. 

16th Brigade : Colonel von Schemer. 

Schleswig-Holstein Fusilier regiment, No. 86. 

7th Thuringian Infantry regiment, No. 96. 
Attached to Division : 

Thuringian Hussar regiment, No. 12. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Magdeburg field-artillery 
regiment, No. 4. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 4th corps, with light bridge-train. 

Corps-Artillery : Colonel C mains. 

Artillery ammunition, infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns belong- 

ing to Magdebnrg field-artillery regiment, No. 4. 
Magdeburg train-battalion, No. 4. 


Infantry-General von Manstein. 

Chief of Staff: Major Bronsart von Schellendorf. 

Commanding Artillery : Major-General Baron von Puttkammcr. 

Commanding Engineer : Major Hutier. 

I8th Infantry Division : Lient.-General Baron von Wr angel. 
35th Brigade : Major-General von Blumenthal. 

Magdeburg Fusilier regiment, No. 36. 

Schleswig Infantry regiment, No. 84. 
36th Brigade : Major-General von Below. 

2nd Silesian Grenadier regiment, No. 11. 

Holstein Infantry regiment, No. 85. 
Attached to Division : 

Lauenburg Jager battalion, No. 9. 

Magdeburg Dragoon regiment, No. 6. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Schloswig-Holstein field- 
artillery regiment, No. 9. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 9th corps, with entrenching tool-column. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 9th corps. 

Hessian Division (25th): Lieut.-General Prince Louis of Hesse. 
49th Brigade: Major-General von Wittich. 
1st Infantry regiment (Body Guard). 
2nd i, ,, (Grand Duke's). 

1st (Guard) Jager battalion. 


50th Brigade : Colonel von Lynker. 

3rd Infantry regiment. 


2nd Jager battalion. 
(25th) Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Baron von Schlotheim. 

1st Reiter regiment (Guard Cheveauxlegers). 

2nd ,, ,, (Leib Chevauxlegers). 

One battery ot' horse-artillery. 

Five field-batteries (two heavy, three light). 

Pioneer company with light field bridge-train. 

Corps-Artillery : Colonel von Jagemann. 


Infantry- General von Voigts-Khetz. . . 

'Chief of Staff: Lieut. -Colonel von Caprivi. 
Commanding Artillery : Colonel Baron v. d. Becke. 
Commanding Engineer : Lieut.-Colonel Cramer. 

19th Infantry Division : Lieut.- General von Schwartzkoppen. 
37th Brigade : Colonel Lehmann. 

East Frisian Infantry regiment, No. 78. 
Oldenburg Infantry regiment, No. 91. 
38th Brigade : Major-General von Wedell. 

3rd Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 16. 
8th No. 57. 

Attached to Division : 

1st Hanoverian Dragoon regiment, No. 9. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Hanoverian field-artillery 

regiment, No. 10. 
2nd Field-pioneer company, 10th corps, with entrenching tool- 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 10th corps. 

20th Infantry Division : Major-General von Kraatz-Koschlau. 
39th Brigade : Major-General von Woyna. 

7th Wesfcphalian Infantry regiment, No. 56. 

3rd Hanoverian Infantry regiment, No. 79. 
40th Brigade: Major-General von Diringshofen. 

4th Westphalian Infantry regiment, No. 17. 

Brunswick Infantry regiment, No. 92. 
Attached to Division : 

Hanoverian Jager battalion, No. 10. 

2nd Hanoverian Dragoon regiment, No. 16. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Hanoverian field-artillery 
regiment, No. 10. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 10th corps, with light bridge-train. 

Corps-Artillery : Colonel Baron v. d. Goltz. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery I f Hanoverian fie id- a rtillery 
iwo heavy field-batteries > . J 

Two light j regimen*, No. 10. 

Artillery and Infantry ammunition columns belonging to Hanoverian 

field-artillery regiment, No.^ 10. 
Hanoverian train-battalion, No. 10. 



Infantry- General H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Saxony, afterwards Prince 

Chief of Staff: Lieut. -Colonel von Zeschwitz. 
Commanding Artillery : Major-General Kohler. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Klemna. 

1st Infantry Division, No. 23 : Lient.-General H.R.H. Prince George of 
Saxony, afterwards Major-Goneral von Montbe. 

1st Brigade, No. 45 : Major-General von Craushaar. 

1st (Leib) Grenadier regiment, No. 100. 

2nd (King William of Prussia) Grenadier regiment, No. 101. 

Rifle (Fusilier) regiment, No. 108. 
2nd Brigade, No. 46 : Colonel von Montb6. 

3rd Infantry regiment (Crown Prince's), No. 102. 

4th ,, No. 103. 

Attached to Division : 

1st Reiter regiment (Crown Prince's). 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of 12th field-artillery regi- 

2nd company of 12th Pioneer battalion with entrenching tool-column. 

4th company of 12th Pioneer battalion. 

2nd Infantry Division, No. 24 : Major-General Nehrhoff von Holderberg. 

3rd Brigade, No. 47 : Major-General Tauscher. 

5th Infantry regiment (Prince Frederic August's), No. 104. 

6th Infantry regiment, No. 105. 

1st Jager battalion (Crown Prince's), No. 12. 
4th Brigade, No. 48: Colonel von Schulz. 

?th Infantry regiment (Prince George's), No. 105. 

8th No. 107. 

2nd Jager battalion, No. 13. 
Attached to Division : 

2nd Reiter regiment. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of 12th field-artillary regi- 

3rd company of 12th Pioneer battalion with light bridge-train. 

Cavalry Division. No. 12 : Major-General Count Lippe. 

1st Cavalry Brigade, No. 23 : Major-General Krug von Nidda. 

Guard Reiter regiment. 

1st Uhlan regiment, No. 17. 
2nd Cavalry Brigade, No. 24 : Major-General Senfft von Pilsach. 

3rd Reiter regiment. 

2nd Uhlan regiment, No. 18. 
Attached to Division : 

One battery of horse-artillery of 12th field-artillery regiment. 

Corps-Artillery : Colonel Fnucke. 

One battery of ho^e-artillery } 

Three light field-batteries [ of the 12th field-artillery regiment. 

Three heavy ,, ) 

Artillery and Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of the 12th 

field-artillery regiment. 
12th train -battalion. 



Lieut. -General Baron von Rheinbaben. 

llth Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Barby. 

Westphalian Cuirassier regiment. No. 4. 

1st Hanoverian Uhlan regiment. No. 13. 

Oldenburg Dragoon regiment, No. 19. 
12th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Bredow. 

Magdeburg Cuirassier regiment, No. 7. 

Altmark Uhlan regiment, No. 16. 

Schleswig-Holstein Dragoon regiment, No. 13. 
13th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Redern. 

Magdeburg Hussar regiment, No. 10. 

2nd Westphalian Hussar regiment, No. 11. 

Brunswick Hussar regiment, No. 17. 
Attached to Division : 

Two batteries horse-artillery. 


Lieut. -General H.S.H. Duke William of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 
14th Cavalry Brigade : Major- General Baron von Diepenbroiok-Griiter. 

Brandenburg Cuirassier regiment, No. 6 (Emp. Nicholas I. of Russia). 

1st Brandenburg Uhlan regiment, No. 3 (Emperor of Russia). 

Schleswig-Holstein Uhlan regiment, No. 15. 
15th Cavalry Brigade : Major- General von Rauch. 

Brandenburg Hussar regiment, No. 3 (Zieten's Hussars). 

Schleswig-Holstein Hussar regiment, No. 16. 
Attached to Division : 

One battery of horse-artillery. 


Infantry- General von Fransecky. 
Chief of Staff: Colonel von Wichmann. 
Commanding Artillery : Major-General von Kleist. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Sandkuhl. 

3rd Infantry Division: Major-General von Hartmann. 
5th Brigade : Major-General von Koblinski. 

Grenadier regiment: King 1'rederic William IV. (1st Pomeranian), 

No. 2. 

5th Pomeranian Infantry regiment, No. 42. 
6th Brigade: Colonel v. d. Decken. 

3rd Pomeranian Infantry Regiment, No. 14. 
7th Pomeranian Infantry regiment, No. 54. 
Attached to Division : 

Pomeranian Jager battalion, No. 2. 
Neumark Dragoon regiment, No. 3. 

Pour batteries (two heavy, two light) of the 2nd Pomeranian field- 
artillery regiment. 
1st Field-pioneer company, 2nd corps, with light bridge-train. Infantry Division: Lieut. -General Hann von Weyhern. 

7th Brigade : Major-General du Trossel. 

Colberg Grenadier regiment (2nd Pomeranian), No. 9. 
6th Pomeranian Infantry regiment, No. 49. 


8th Brigade : Major-General von Kettler. 

4th Pomeranian Infantry regiment, No. 21. 

8th Pomeranian Infantry regiment, No. 61. 
Attached to Division : 

Pomeranian Dragoon regiment, No. 11. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Pomeranian field-artillery 
regiment, No. 2. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 2nd corps, with entrenching tool-column. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 2nd corps. 

Corps-Artillery : Colonel Petzel. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery ^ f fc Pomeran ; an field-artillery 
Two light field-batteries regiment, No. 2. 

Two heavy ) 

Artillery and infantry ammunition and pontoon columns of Pomeranian 
field-artillery regiment, No. 2. 
Pomeranian train-battalion, No. 2. 


Commander-in-Chief : Infantry -General H.R.H. the Crown Prince of 


Chief of Staff: Lieut. -General von Blumenthal. 
Quartermaster- General : Colonel von Gottberg. 
Commanding Artillery : Lient.-General Herkt. 
Commanding Engineer : Major-General Schulz. 


Lieutenant-General von Kirchbach. 
Chief of Staff: Colonel v. d. Esch. 
Commanding Artillery : Colonel Gaede. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Owstein. 

9th Infantry Division : Major-General von Sandrart. 

17th Brigade : Colonel von Bothmer. 

3rd Posen Infantry regiment, No. 58. 

4th No. 59. 

18th Brigade : Major-General von Voigts-Khetz. 

King's Grenadier regiment (2nd West Prussian), No. 7. 

2nd Lower Silesian Infantry regiment, No. 47. 
Attached to Division : 

1st Silesian Jiiger battalion, No. 5. 

1st Silesian Dragoon regiment, No 4. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Lower Silesian field- 
artillery regiment, No. 5. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 5th corps, with light bridge-train. 

10th Infantry Division: Lient.-General von Schmidt. 

19th Brigade : Colonel von Henning auf Schbnhoff. 

1st West Prussian Grenadier regiment, No. 6. 

1st Lower Silesiau Infantry regiment, No. 46. 
20th Brigade : Major-General Walther von Montbary. 

Westpbalian Fusilier regiment, No. 37. 

3rd Lower Silesian Infantry regiment, No. 50. 


Attached to Division : 

Kurmark Dragoon regiment, No. 14. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of field-artillery regiment, No. 5. 
2nd Field-pioneer company, 5th corps, with entrenching tool-column. 
3rd ,, ,, 

Corps-Artillery : Lieut.-Colonel Kohler. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery ~) .,, T ., . ,, 

Two light field-batteries I of th f e . Lowor S ^ esian *S ld ' 

Two heavy ) artlllerv regiment, No. 5. 

Artillery and infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of field-artillery 

regiment, No. 5. 
Lower Silesian train -battalion, No. 5. 


Lieut.-General yon Bose. 

Chief of Staff: Major- General Stein von Kaminski. 
Commanding Artillery : Major-General Hausmann. 
Commanding Engineer : Major Criiger. 

21st Infantry Division: Lieut. -General von Schachtmeyer. 

41st Brigade : Colonel von Koblinski. 

Hessian Fusilier regiment, No. 80. 

1st Nassau Infantry regiment, No. 87. 
42nd Brigade : Major-General von Thiele. 

2nd Hessian Infantry regiment, No. 82. 

2nd Nassau Infantry regiment, No. 88. 
Attached to Division : 

Hessian Jager battalion, No. 11. 

2nd Hessian Hussar regiment, No. 14. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Hessian field-artillery regi- 
ment, No. 11. 

1st Field-pioneer company, llth corps, with light bridge-train. 

22nd Infantry Division : Lieut. -General von Gersdorff. 

43rd Brigade : Colonel von Kontzki. 

2nd Thiiringian Infantry regiment, No. 32. 

6th No. 95. 

44th Brigade : Major-General von Schkopp. 

3rd Hessian Infantry regiment, No. 83. 

5th Thiiringian No. 94. 

Attached to Division : 

1st Hessian Hussar regiment, No. 13. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of Hessian field-artillery regi- 

2nd Field-pioneer company, llth corps, with entrenching tool- 

3rd Field-pioneer company, llth corps. 

Corps- Artillery ' Colonel von Oppeln-Bronikowski. 
Two batteries of horse-artillery") ,. ,-, . ,, ,. 
Two light field-batteries { of He, smn field-artillery 

Two heavy J. regiment, No. 11. 

Artillery and Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of llth field- 
artillery regiment. 
Hessian train-battalion, No. 11. 



Infantry-General Baron von der Tann-Rathsamhansen. 
Chief of Staff: Lient.-Colonel von Heinleth. 
Director of Field-Artillery : Major-General von Malaise. 
Director of Engineers : Lienfc.-Colonel Riem. 

1st Infantry Division .- Lieut.-General von Stephan. 
1st Brigade : Major-General Dietl. 

Infantry body-gaard regiment. 

Two battalions of 1st Infantry regiment (King's). 

2nd Jager battalion. 
2nd Brigade : Major-General von Orff. 

2nd Infantry regiment (Crown Prince's). 

Two battalions of llth Infantry regiment (v. d. Tauu). 

4th Jager battalion. 
Attached to Division : 

9th Jager battalion. 

3rd Chevanxlegers regiment (Duke Maximilian's). 

Two 4-potmder and two 6-pounder batteries. 

2nd Infantry Division: Lieut.-General Count Pappenheim. 
3rd Brigade : Major-General Schumacher. 

3rd Infantry regiment (Prince Charles of Bavaria). 

Two battalions of 12th Infantry regiment (Queen Amalie of Greece). 

1st Jager battalion. 
4th Brigade: Major-General Baron von der Tann. 

10th Infantry regiment (Prince Louis). 

Two battalions of 13th Infantry regiment (Emperor Francis Joseph 
of Austria). 

7th Jager battalion. 
Attached to Division : 

4th Chevauxlegers regiment (King's). 

Two 4-pounderand twoG-pounder batteries. 
Cuirassier Brigade : Major-General von Tausch. 

1st Cuirassier regiment (Prince Charles of Bavaria). 

2nd ,, (Prince Adalbert). 

6th Chevauxlegers regiment (Grand Duke Constantino Nicolaju- 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Bi-igade of Reserve-Artillery : Colonel Bronzetti. 
1st Division. Two 6-ponnder, one 4-pounder battery.} 
2nd Two 6-ponnder batteries. 42 guns. 

3rd Two 6-ponnder batteries. ) 

1st Field-Engineer Division. 


Infantry-General von Hartmann. 
Chief of Staff: Coloii' 1 Baron von Horn. 
Director of Field-Artillery : Major-General Lutz. 
Director of Field- Engineering : Lieut.-Colonel Fogt. 

3rd Infantry Division: Lieut.-General von Walther. 

5th Brigade : Major-General von Sohleich. 

6th Infantry regiment (King William of Prussia). 

Two battalions of 7th Infantry regiment (Hohenhausen). 

8ih Jager battalion. 


6th Brigade : Colonel Berries von Wissell. 

Two battalions of 14th Infantry regiment (Hartmann). 

15th Infantry regiment (King John of Saxony). 

3rd Jager battalion. 
Attached to Division: 

1st Chevanxlegers regiment (Emperor Alexander of Russia). 

Two 4-pounder and two 6-pounder batteries. 

47i Infantry Division: Lieut. -General Count von Bothmer. 
7th Brigade : Major -General von Thiereck. 

Two battalions of 5th Infantry regiments (Grand Dnke of Hesse). 

9th Infantry regiment (Werde). 

6th Jager battalion. 
8th Brigade : Major-General Maillinger. 

3rd battalion of 1st Infantry regiment. 

3rd 5th ' 

1st 7th 

3rd ,, llth 

3rd 14th 

5th Jager battalion. 
Attached to Division : 

10th Jager battalion. 

2nd Chevauxlegers regiment. 

Two 4-pounder and two 6-pounder batteries. 
Uhlan Brigade : Major-General Baron von Mulzer. 

1st Uhlan regiment (Archduke Nicholas of Russia). 

2nd Uhlan regiment (King's). 

5th Chevauxlegers regiment (Prince Otto's). 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Brigade of Reserve Artillery : Colonel von Pillemcnt. 
1st Division : 

One 4-pounder horse-artillery battery. 

Two 6-pounder field batteries. 
2nd Division : 

Two 6-ponnder field batteries. 
3rd Division : 

Two 6-ponnder field batteries. 
2nd Field-Engineer Division. 


Lieut.-General von Obernitz. 
Chief of Staff : Colonel von Friebig. 
1st Brigade : Major-General von Reitzenstein. 

1st Infantry regiment (Queen Olga) (two battalions). 

7th ,, (two battalions). 

2nd Jager battalion. 
2nd Brigade : Major-General von Strakloff. 

2nd Infantry regiment (two battalions). 

5th (King Charles's battalion). 

3rd Jager battalion. 
3rd Brigade : Major-General Baron von Hugel. 

3rd Infantry regiment (two battalions). 

8th ,, 

1st Jager battalion. 
Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Count von Soheler. 

1st Reiter regiment (King Charles) (four squadrons). 

2nd (King William) (two ). 

4th (Queen Olga) (four ). 



1st Field-artillery Division : 

Two 4-pounder and one 6-ponnder batteries. 
2nd Field-artillery Division : 

Two 4-pounder and one 6-ponnder batteries. 

3rd Field-artillery Division: 

Two 4-ponnder and one 6-pounder batteries. 

Lieut.-General von Beyer. 

Chief of Staff: Lieut. -Colonel von Leszczynski. 

1st Brigade : Lieut.-General du Jarrys Baron La Roche. 

1st Leib Grenadier regiment. 

Fusilier battalion of 4th Infantry regiment. 

2nd Grenadier regiment (King of Prussia). 
Combined (3rd) Brigade : Major-General Keller. 

3rd Infantry regiment. 


Attached to Division : 

3rd Dragoon regiment (Prince Charles). 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light). 

Company of pontooners with light bridge-train and entrenching tool- 

Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Baron La Boche-Starkenfela. 

1st Leib Dragoon regiment. 

2nd Dragoon regiment (Margrave Maximilian). 

One battery of horse-artillery. 

Corps- Artillery. 
Two heavy and two light field batteries. 

Cavalry-General H.E.H. Prince Albert of Prussia. 

8th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Hontheim. 

West Prussian Cuirassier regiment, No. 5. 

Posen Uhlan regiment, No. 10. 
9th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Bernhardi. 

West Prussian Uhlan regiment, No. 1. 

Thuringian Uhlan regiment, No. 6. 
10th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Krosigk. 

2nd Leib Hussar regiment, No. 2. 

Rhine Province Dragoon regiment, No. 6. 
Two batteries of horse-artillery. 


Cavalry-General von Tiimpling. 
Chief of Staff: Colonel von Salviati. 
Commanding Artillery : Colonel von Ramm. 
Commanding Engineer : M\or Albrecht. 

1 Subsequently many changes in the commands. 


Infantry Division : Lieut.-General von Gordon. 

21st Brigade : Major-General von Malachowski. 

1st Silesian Grenadier regiment, No. 10. 

1st Posen Infantry regiment, No. 18. 
22nd Brigade : Major-General von Eokarfcsberg. 

Silesian Fusilier regiment, No. 38. 

4th Lower Silesian Infantry regiment, No. 51. 
Attached to Division : 

2nd Silesian Jager battalion, No. 6. 

2nd Silesian Dragoon regiment, No. 8. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Silesian field-artillery 
regiment, No. 6. 

3rd Field-pioneer company, 6th corps. 

12th Infantry Division : Lieut.-General von Hoffmann. 

23rd Brigade : Major-General Giindell. 

1st Upper Silesian Infantry regiment, No. 22. 

3rd ,, No. 62. 

24th Brigade : Major-General von Fabeok. 

2nd Upper Silesian Infantry regiment, No. 23. 

4th No. 63. 

Attached to Division : 

3rd Silesian Dragoon regiment, No. 15. 

Four batteries (two heavy, two light) of the Silesian field-artillery 
regiment, No. 6. 

1st Field-pioneer company, 6th corps, with light bridge-train. 

2nd Field-pioneer company, 6th corps, with entrenching tool-column. 

Corps-Artillery ; Colonel Arnold. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery ^ ,, ., ,, .... 

Two light field-batteries I of th ? Silesian field-artillery 

Two hfavy ) regiment, No. 6. 

Artillery and Infantry ammunition, and pontoon columns of Silesian field- 
artillery regiment. 

Silesian train battalion, No. 6. 


Lieut.-General Count Stolberg-Wernigerode. 

3rd Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Colomb. 

Silesian Leib Cuirassier regiment, No. 1. 

Silesian Uhlan regiment, No. 2. 
4th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General Baron von Barnekow. 

1st Leib Hussar regiment, No. 1. 

Pomeranian Hussar regiment (Blucher's Hussars), No. 5. 
5th Cavalry Brigade : Major-General von Baumbaoh. 

1st Silesian Hussar regiment, No. 4. 

2nd No. 6. 

Two batteries of horse-artillery. 







Moltke, Helmuth Karl Bernhard 
Graf von 

The Franco-German War of 

[Tr. by Clara Bell and H.W. 
Fischer] Translation rev. by 
Archibald Forbes